"I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works."
Habakkuk 3:2 NLT
Beautiful, isn’t it? The gorgeous clouds colored by the sunset and swept by the wind, the lava dykes looking like a stegosaurus buried in the sand and then the amazing molten monadnock rising from the desert floor. This is Shiprock!
This striking piece of extruded rock peaks at an elevation of 7,177, rising 1,583 feet above the high-desert plain—making it taller than the Empire State Building. The lofty igneous dykes radiate away from the monolith like spokes on a sundial. As you simply breathe in the essence of this space you know it is not like anything else you have ever seen. There is a sense of awe here, a feeling of holiness as if God is near.
The Navajo call Shiprock sacred and named it Tse’ Bit’a’i—the rock with wings. There are many legends about the rock, all integral parts of Navajo culture. One story says that the rock became a bird, carrying the ancestral people of the Navajo on its back—bringing them to the Southwest. And then at sundown, the enormous avian settled in its current desert location and promptly turned back to stone.
The evening we were there winds gusted about 60 mph, whipping up sand and debris. Standing was a big issue. The mere wisp of a shirttail was enough to provide a “kite” like effect, pulling you up out of your boots. Tripods were useless! We had just about given up on capturing this iconic peak when suddenly the wind died slightly and a glorious colorful sunset commenced. The windswept cloud made the perfect final touch. As Ansel Adams said, sometimes we are lucky enough to arrive “just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.” Lord, we are indeed “filled with awe by your amazing works.”
Locations and details: Shiprock is located in the northwest corner of New Mexico. It lies about 11 miles southwest of the town of Shiprock. Farmington, New Mexico is a good base of operations to photograph Shiprock and view other geological wonders. If you visit, PLEASE be respectful and responsible. The Navajo Nation governs this location and requests that the public stay 3 miles away from the formation and 20 feet away from the lava dykes.