The Southwest Loves Families of Every Kind

A collage of people, artists, family and art from Twin Rocks Trading Post.

Twin Rocks Loves Families of Every Sort.

At Twin Rocks we admit it, and happily so — we love families of every sort.

Grandparents and kids, people who come together to make a business, brothers and sisters, kids, families of baskets and rugs, families enjoying food, families of dogs and their humans, families of ant hills, families of every sort of creation and creature that love each other.

Love comes in all kinds of packages, and it’s a good thing to spread around.

We also remember to love the earth that nurtures us.  Because, when it comes right down to it, we are all related.

You are always welcome to our Twin Rocks family, whether you are thousands of miles away or sitting across the table.

Come Visit Bluff, the Edge of the Universe

Get out There and See the Country. (If you feel like it...)

Get out There and See the Country. (If you feel like it…)

If you’re looking for adventure, as well as an outrageously amazing culture, Twin Rocks can help you find that, too.  At Twin Rocks, we’re locals, and we have plenty of tips for you to enjoy Bluff, our home.  If you’re into it, our home offers any kind of backcountry adventure you can image.

Take off from Bluff to the west and discover the incomparable Cedar Mesa. Driving the exciting Mokey Dugway on Highway 261 or coming in from the north on Scenic Byway Highway 95, leads to some of the most beautiful canyons anywhere!

The trailheads for these canyons are accessed by dirt roads, and some may require four-wheel-drive. Exploring the canyons can be as short as a day hike or, for the more adventurous, provides opportunities of up to a week or more of hiking through spectacular scenery while investigating Ancestral Puebloan ruins from a culture of a thousand years ago.

Some of the canyons offer arches and bridges carved by millions of years of erosion and slickrock trails for smooth walking. There are many dramatically different canyons offering opportunities for return visits to see them all.

And, there is the glorious San Juan River.  It is one of the creators of the Grand Canyon.

A word of caution: The archaeological sites are VERY FRAGILE. Climbing and pulling on the walls is forbidden as is taking ANYTHING from the site including artifacts and other remains. Please take the time to learn about the Anasazi and the proper protocol for visiting these sites.

Explore

Surrounding Bluff are still more canyons and mesa-tops to explore. These areas can be easy day hikes from roads just outside of town and offer more rock art panels, ruins and just great views of the amazing desert landscape. Explore on bicycles or motorcycles.

Drive throughout the Four Corners region and visit the sites that bring the world to Bluff.  Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, Natural Bridges, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands and Hovenweep are just a few of the National Parks, Monuments, Navajo Tribal Parks and State Parks that attract visitors.  Experience serenity, beauty and natural wonder.

The photographer, budding archaeologist or sightseer will enjoy the landscape of the entire region.

One of Bluff’s most popular spots is the BLM Sand Island Camping Area. It is the put-in for the famous San Juan River trips in the region. Even if not taking off on a river trip, be sure to stop and see some of the most telling examples of rock art. From ancient times, many cultures have left their mark and told their stories on the painted walls along the San Juan corridor. Then spend one day, or many, traveling the river known for the steepest gradient in North America!

A fast moving river without technical whitewater, it is a challenging trip with opportunities to view layers of geological formations and to visit fascinating rock art and ruins on short hikes along the way. Whether traveling all 84 miles to Clay Hills take-out for a multi-day trip or just doing the 26 miles to Mexican hat – in one day or a few – the San Juan features a trip that is enjoyable for the entire family. From senior citizens to kids with water-fight buckets, everyone enjoys trips through the scenic canyons of the San Juan.

Adventure

Mountain bike enthusiasts will find a pleasant diversion from slickrock trails here in Bluff. There are many dirt roads taking off just outside of town that lead to wonderful views, interesting archaeology and just great rides.

Only 25 miles north of Bluff are the Abajo Mountains offering a cool break for the summer visitor and even backcountry skiing in the winter. The 10,000 feet of elevation there showcases lakes for fishing and easy access by paved and unpaved roads for spectacular vistas and shady picnics.

Come visit Twin Rocks, and then explore our home!

Bluff is a Feeling

Bluff, UTah is a feeling of peace and harmony.

Bluff is a Feeling

People often say that “Bluff is a feeling.”

Perhaps it’s the friendly, small-town feeling.

Maybe it’s the way you’re transported when you see the nearby petroglyphs, and you imagine how people lived here over a 1,000 years ago.

It might be the serenity and calm you sense when you discover the Milky Way on a clear night, the sky more brilliantly lit with stars than you, perhaps, have ever seen it.   Or the freedom you experience as you take in the magnificent panorama of the nearby Muley Point overlook.

The Navajo word, “Hozho”, may explain it best.   Hozho is the most important word in the Navajo language.  It means peace, balance, beauty and harmony.  To be “in Hozho” is to be at one with, and a part of, the world around you.

Consideration of the nature of the universe, the world, man, the nature of time and space, creation, growth, motion, order, control, and the life cycle, all expressed in terms quite impossible to translate into English.

We hope you feel this connection and come to discover Hozho when you visit Bluff.

The Great Kiva in Bluff, UT

Ancient History in Bluff, UT

Ancient History in Bluff, UT

After you’ve stopped by Twin Rocks Café, and you’ve perused the beauty in Twin Rocks Trading Post, take a walk up the winding hill just behind us.  It’s there you’ll see the Great Kiva in Bluff, UT.

By the late 1000s, a powerful new cultural sensibility swept across the Mesa Verde region, which includes the canyon-rich landscapes of southeastern Utah.

Deriving from New Mexico, this “Chacoan Phenomenon” featured bold architectural elements: great houses, great kivas, and roads. Bluff Valley’s social center was relocated to the north side of the river onto a hilltop that overlooks the entire valley. This new community center, the Bluff Great House site, included a multi-story masonry great house and an enormous subterranean great kiva.

Archaeological research suggests that the site remained in use for about 200 years. The site itself was the southern terminus of an extensive network of great houses and prehistoric roads that stretched from the San Juan River to the foot of the Abajo Mountains in the north. By the mid-1,200s, this great alliance had fallen apart, and the Puebloan people moved south to inhabit the landscapes of the Rio Grande, the Zuni Mountains, and the Hopi Mesas.

All of this plus good food and terrific art.  What more could you want?

Bigfoot Spotted on the Navajo Nation!

The Navajo Indian reservation is home to many amazing creatures.

One of them is called The Howler.  It is a mysterious being believed to have killed dogs and livestock. Elders in the community call these predators Skinwalkers, and others call it the Navajo version of Bigfoot, particularly news people.

The reservation even has a special law enforcement agency that only responds to paranormal reports such as ghosts, witchcraft, UFOs and even Skinwalkers, or if you prefer, Bigfoot.  (Nah, nothing like a Skinwalker…)

 

A Collage of Rare Navajo Indian Photos and Music

Díyín diné’é (The Holy People)

The Diné are ancient people with a multi-textured history and tradition. They believe they were created from Mother Earth and Father Sky. They are a part of the land, a part of their weaving, and a part of their Mother’s beauty.

And, every Indian nation has its unique story of catastrophic contact with the expanding European settlement of the continent.

The Cherokee, Choctaw, and Seminole nations walked a Trail of Tears in 1838 when forcibly removed from their homeland. Tens of thousands of Indigenous people have died in forced “relocations” and environmental desecration that drove them from their homes. General Carleton’s failed utopian agrarian experiment at Bosque Redondo with the Navajos during resettlement, like others, was a disaster.

Like the Cherokees and their “Trail of Tears,” the Navajo experienced their “Long Walk.”

The Navajos were taken from the protection of the four sacred mountains. Many say that the Navajo people ceased to perform many ceremonies during the time of their captivity at Fort Sumner. And, many remembered those four hard years of the “Long Walk” as an event with as much significance to the Navajos as the Civil War was for other Americans.

Twin Rocks is honored to learn from their resilient and humorous spirits and from the beauty they create.

The film uses artwork / firstpeople.us : “The Creation” – Richard Hook “A Navajo Wedding” – Alfredo Rodriguez Photo credit to: Harold Carey Jr. / navajo-arts.com, old-picture.com, Google.

Elegant and Seductive Navajo Pottery

Navajo Pottery is practical and beautiful, making a prize for a collector

Navajo Corn Yei Vase by Kenneth White

The Navajo have made pottery in the Southwest since their arrival here sometime around the 16th century.

But, because people have made pottery since about the beginning of time, it’s a pretty sure bet that they brought pottery with them during their migration. The Navajos made both plain and decorated pottery, and the plain is usually considered to be their old-style.

After the railroads arrived in the Southwest during the 1880’s, the Navajos began weaving more rugs and making less decorated pottery — the rugs were very popular with the travelers who journeyed through our countryside. (No surprise there.  They truly are unsurpassable.)

Today, there’s no need to push your way through a museum to see the old-style pottery. It is still popular today, and you can see fine examples of it at trading posts and galleries.  (At Twin Rocks, we like to consider our collection particularly terrific!)

Navajo pottery is often pear-shaped, conically bottomed, and colored in a reddish brown. It is serviceable and made waterproof by coating it with resin from pinon pine. (Put your nose to the rim and inhale — the smell still lingers, and it is heavenly.) Once the resin permeates the clay, the pot can be placed in hot coals with no loss of the resin or its sealing properties.

The decorations are simple beading or applique. If the pot has the clay beads or fillets, a space or spirit break is included. It might appear as if the potter forgot to include one fillet — no, it is a mystic and intentional part of the design.

Anasazi culture potshards are ground and used as a tempering agent. The pot is built by coiling, shaped by hand with a corn cob and fired in an open pit.  The Wedding Vase, and other styles of vases, are the most popular and they make unique gifts. Navajos also create large jars, but they’re rare — usually the pots are under 12 inches tall.

The love of Navajo pottery has recently surged, a happy event for all. Appliqued decorations include yucca plants, cactus, horned toads, animals, humans, and flowers. Collectors love them, and so do we!

Ellen Meloy — Our Writing Angel of the Four Corners

Favorite Local Writer

Ellen Meloy, Bluff’s Favorite Local Writer — We Miss You.

Author Ellen Meloy lived in Bluff, and she left the earth far too early.

She captured our home here as few other writers have.  And so, why use our words, when we can give you hers about this, our desert home.

“…in the desert there is everything and there is nothing. Stay curious. Know where you are—your biological address. Get to know your neighbors—plants, creatures, who lives there, who died there, who is blessed, cursed, what is absent or in danger or in need of your help. Pay attention to the weather, to what breaks your heart, to what lifts your heart. Write it down.” ~E.M. November 2004

When travelers come into Twin Rocks, they often ask us directions, the history of the land, about Navajo people. They want to know how we can live here, the epicenter of nowhere and everywhere. We should simply print out Ellen’s words and hand them out to our guests.

We could also say that her advice works just as well if you live in New York or L.A.  You are still part of the natural world, and it makes sense to know your heart’s address, no matter where you live.

When researching her last book, she wrote, “…During my recent journeys this history (of land) felt foreign and unnervingly off-the-Map, even as I lived in its heart. Gaze out from the mesa, and you will meet my duplicitous lover. You will see eternity, a desert that like no other place exudes the timelessness of nature as the final arbiter. Scrape off our century, and you will find its usurper, pressed into a nugget of inorganic matter, the single greatest threat to the continuity of life. The history inscribed itself on the Map’s most alarming folios; ignoring it was no way to earn Home.”

Come visit us at Twin Rocks.  Read one of Ellen’s books. Understand that when you come here, you, too, will see eternity. What a blessiing, Ellen.  Thank you for your words.

The Crew at Twin Rocks.

The Heart of the Southwest

Twin Rocks in the the center of all there is to see in the heart of the Southwestern US

All roads lead to Twin Rocks, in amazing Bluff, UT

Why come and visit us at Twin RocksEasy.  You’ll have a great time that is completely unique.

The Twin Rocks Trading Post sits just beneath the Navajo Twins geologic formation in the historic pioneer town of Bluff, Utah. Barry and Steve Simpson, local boys, share their passion for cultural tradition and artistic innovation with both artists and visiting collectors.

Open minds and imagination have resulted in a Navajo basketry renaissance. You’ll also discover one of the finest contemporary Native American turquoise jewelry collections in the world. (No kidding!) And, the Twin Rocks Modern Navajo rug is the first Navajo weaving design innovation in decades.

Pop in.  There’s always a lively conversation going on about the west of old, contemporary Indian art, and travel exploits.  (Tell us yours!)

This is our home. If you have any questions about the Four Corners regional culture and landscape, feel free to ask us.  If we don’t know, we’ll point you in the right direction. When you visit us in Bluff, we promise you a top-notch experience in Native American art and hospitality.

Our friendly team is happy to give you an authentic experience that is comfortable, informative and fun. Like many people we have met over the years, we hope you come through our front door as customers and leave as life-long friends. And, you can always give us a buzz at 1-800-526-3448.

Welcome to our part of the planet, friends. Life will never look quite the same way again.

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

Come to Twin Rocks Trading Posts and visit Arches National Park

Arches National Park is one of the natural treasures near Twin Rocks.

The First Morning

“This is the most beautiful place on earth.

“There are many such places.  Every man, every woman carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, actual or visionary.  A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome — there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.  Theologians, sky pilots, astronauts have even felt the appeal of home calling to them from above, in the cold black outback of interstellar space.

“For myself, I’ll take Moab, Utah.  I don’t mean the town itself, of course, but the country which surrounds it — the Canyonlands. The slick-rock desert.  The red dust and the burnt cliffs and the lonely sky — all that which lies beyond the end of the roads.”

…………..

The above was written by Edward Abbey, and it is from his book about our red rock country, Desert Solitaire.  His use of words is incomparable.  The perfect description of how we feel about this, the part of the land we carry in our hearts.  The part that grabs travelers as they pass through.

Come to Twin Rocks in Bluff, UT and discover the art that emerges from this magical place.  You will be captivated and amazed. But you won’t be surprised. Art that comes from land with this sort of beauty is breathtaking, purely imagined, and the inspiration is clear.

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