If you are planning to go to Monument Valley to get a close look at the annular Ring of Fire eclipse, don’t.
The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is advising all tour operators, local businesses, visitors and residents that the 17-mile scenic Indian Route 42 will be closed for a minimum of five hours during the full duration of the annular eclipse from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 14.
There will be a few staff who have converted to Christianity who will work during that time to enforce the park closure.
Tour operators who have already booked that day will be allowed through, but there will be no parking during the closure and the visitors center will be closed. Schools on the reservation will also be closed.
The park closure comes in accordance with tribal and cultural protocols.
Davis Filfred, a Navajo and board chairman of Utah Dine Bikeyah, said an eclipse is a time of renewal and reflection, and not a spectacle for tribal members.
“There is no eating or drinking. You are also not supposed to be in bed with your partner. The Navajo take the time off. Back in the days there was chanting and some still do that. You are not supposed to look at an eclipse and everything kind of comes to a halt.”
Filfred said the eclipse is part of the creation story for the Navajo.
It is, he added, an intimate moment in time for the sun and the moon.
“This is their time for the sun and the moon.”
This is the last annular solar eclipse that will be visible in the United States until June 21, 2039, according to NASA.
A total eclipse will happen in April 2024. Although it will be visible over the United States, it won’t be seen in the West.
Daisy Hips is a science communicator who brings the wonders of the natural world to readers. Her articles explore breakthroughs in various scientific disciplines, from space exploration to environmental conservation. Daisy is also an advocate for science education and enjoys stargazing in her spare time.