Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Southwest Trading Posts

When we write about trading posts we don’t mean the gaudy tourist traps one might find off an interstate.  What we’re describing is what used to be the life blood on an Indian reservation.  Place where folks who were forced to live went to buy and often time trade for essentials such as food stuffs like flour, salt etc.
Rear wall of the trading post in Oljato UT

Another rear wall Oljato UT
While there are still some operational trading posts to be found the majority are now closed.  The advent of better transportation help close this way of life on many reservations.  We don’t look for the trading posts that remain open; instead we prefer the older closed defunct abandoned ones.
Front wall Oljato UT
We recently spent several days on the Navajo Nation in the Monument Valley area of Arizona and Utah and found two old trading posts.
Front wall Oljato UT
Looking down the front wall, Oljato UT

The first in Oljato Utah is located 10-miles from Goulding’s in Monument Valley and is easily accessible by paved road.  Take the road running between the airfield and new housing for 10-miles and Oljato is on the left side.  Watch for herds of sheep along the way; in other words slow down and enjoy the scenery. Oljato trading post is an easy side trip to take after visiting Monument Valley.
Red door, Oljato Utah

Old Hogan in front of the Oljato trading Post

We found our second trading post approximately 130-miles south in the Ganado Arizona area off BIA15; named Sunrise Trading Post.  Sunrise is located on the north side of BIA15 and very rundown. 

Sunrise Trading Post Ganado UT fro BIA 15
Close up of the front wall
Green door leading into a front room
Where Oljato trading post is in fair condition with standing walls, most windows intact and doors and roof sadly that can’t be said for Sunrise with no windows, little doors left and no roof.  Sunrise is truly abandoned and had graffiti and left to natures elements.  They both offer a unique photographic experience.
What's left of a wall

Looking down and out from the windows through the roof
Please remember you are visitors and be respectful of the area and leave things where you might find them. We’d also caution to not enter buildings as the floors may be weak. Also you might want to think about proper footgear as you are in the southwest where critters like to hide.
All images were captured with a pair of Sony A7rII and either a 24-70GM (Sandys lens of choice) and a Mitakon Speedmaster 85mm (Dons lens).  All images were processed using a combination of Capture One-9 and Topaz Labs filters.
Sandy & Don