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Hoodoos of the Coal Mine Canyon | by Matt Grans Photography
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Hoodoos of the Coal Mine Canyon

No this isn't Mars…


I first saw pictures of the Blue Canyon around February of this year and became determined to travel to it and find it for myself if I'd get the chance. So, after leaving the Grand Canyon, my wife and kids and I embarked upon a strange journey to see if we could find the elusive red and white striped canyon of northern Arizona.


The thing is, that the Blue canyon's not a national park… more like privately owned, but accessible. There is a chance of getting booted out or worse get a case of buckshot. It is on Navajo reservation land, and there are no maps to get you to the place.


The dirt road was treacherous for our Saturn Vue, and a lightning spewing monsoon storm was heading straight at us, as we bumped along the very loose red dirt road… and believe me, I didn't want us getting stuck. I was getting ready to turn the car around, when we saw a horses' leg laying beside the road… a fresh horses leg… a little more inspection, and we realized there were carcasses and skeletons of many different animals laying around. We were getting a very strange feeling in our guts at this point and high tailed it out.


In the nearby town of Tuba City, we decided to sit down at a Sonic burger joint, and I struck up a conversation with the manager. It turned out that he knew a much better way to the canyon, and so we tried it out, and were greeted with a different but equally unique canyon, though a bit more known than it's sister.


I stayed up on the rim because I was with my wife and little girls, but want desperately to one day go back and descend to the bottom of this place. I'd also like to see if I can get to the Blue Canyon in the future, and maybe walk it as well.


Regardless, it's great to experience Mars on Earth…


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Taken on July 27, 2010