For the last three years I have wanted to photograph Hunts Mesa in Monument Valley, but this requires a Navajo guide and an overnight camping trip. In preparation, I asked no less than three times, “There is a porta potty on the mesa, correct … there is a porta potty on the mesa … there is a porta potty???” You get the idea. As my Toyota Highlander is not made for off roading, I am not made for camping, and some accommodations during an overnight excursion on top of a Utah mountain are simply required.
After a two-hour extreme off roading trip to Hunts Mesa, our group finally get to the top and one thing is clear: there is no going back until the following day. After photographing sunset, the next item on my agenda was locating the porta potty because I was running on EST and 4 AM comes early. (At this time in southern Utah it is still pitch black outside … on the mesa … with a lot of cactus.) My Navajo guide started to laugh, which was my first indication that something was a little off. “It’s over here” he states and proceeds to guide me by flashlight up a sandy path for at least 50 feet to one of 1,000 Pinyon pine trees. Standing behind the Pinyon pine was a hole dug into the ground over which was placed a wooden crate on which had been screwed a child size white toilet seat. No walls … no “occupied” sign … but the view was magnificent. You could see for miles east, west and north – everywhere but south which was blocked by the tree to a certain degree. Logically, if Client Tourist sitting upon child sized toilet seat can see for miles in three of four directions, so can everyone standing east, west and north who are looking south in the direction of the said Pinyon pine. Is there a Navajo word for “irritation + hysterical laughter + dread”?
This is an unusual, but true life word picture. Honestly, I took one look at the promised porta potty and thought, “this reminds me of consulting services” as it embodied to me the basic business challenge of effectively managing client expectations.
Conclusion: I survived my Hunts Mesa trip and all experiences contained therein. The photos were worth the journey!
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