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Singletracks Podcast Interviews Jon from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

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Singletracks Podcast Interviews Jon from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

Our friends Nadine and John from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures have been receiving a lot of press lately and the latest in the torrent is the Singletracks podcast. Give it a listen to hear the motivations behind Dzil Ta’ah Adventures, and what they’re doing within the Navajo Nation to enable their community to ride bikes.

Check out our Related archives below for the work we’ve done with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures in the past, including this year’s Yellow Dirt Route Reportage.

 

Jon and Nadine’s Dzil Ta’ah Adventures Are in Condé Nast Travel

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Jon and Nadine’s Dzil Ta’ah Adventures Are in Condé Nast Travel

Our friends Jon and Nadine’s cyclo-tourism company, Dzil Ta’ah Adventures, based in the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta made it to the travel segment of Condé Nast. We’ve done a few stories with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures over the years, so after you check this out, be sure to visit our archives in the Related footer below…

“It’s important for Navajo Nation to be in charge of this story, because more often than not, that story has been told for, not by, Navajo people,” says Navajo Nation member Donovan Hanley, a legislative staff assistant spearheading tourism development for Navajo Nation Council’s Office of the Speaker. “Jon’s push to tell stories on bikes, the push for adventure, responsible tourism, and sustainable tourism—it really aligns with the Navajo way of life.”

Read the full piece at Condé Nast Travel!

Education Through Experiences: Bikepacking the Yellow Dirt Route onto Comb Ridge with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

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Education Through Experiences: Bikepacking the Yellow Dirt Route onto Comb Ridge with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

In the Navajo Nation town of Kayenta, Arizona, Jon Yazzie runs a guide company called Dzil Ta’ah Adventures. Its intent is to educate visitors on the history of the areas surrounding Kayenta through guided bike trips. This particular route is one he’s been working on for a while which parallels the mighty Comb Ridge before climbing the Sandstone Backbone via an old Mormon dugway, overlooking Kane Valley where the US government drilled into the Earth, uncovering uranium for the Manhattan Project. The result would send waves of radiation through the community for decades to come…

Jon Yazzie from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures and His Ti Vassago Optimus 29+ SS Bikepacking Rig

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Jon Yazzie from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures and His Ti Vassago Optimus 29+ SS Bikepacking Rig

We rolled back into Kayenta from an overnighter with Jon Yazzie from Dzil Ta’ah Adventures and I reminded him that I wanted to shoot his bike. “Yeah! Leave the bags on it. As is…” I said to him. Jon took a few moments to tidy up the straps and make sure the bags were tight and neat before handing it off to me. He loves this bike and so I took it as an honor to photograph it. For me, there’s nothing better than riding with the person whose bike you’re documenting. It feels less transactional and more personal. You get to see how they treat their ride. Are they crashers or thrashers? In doing so, there’s a real connection that’s established. For Jon and I, we’ve spent a few years communicating over email when projects arise. Josh has done an exceptional job documenting Dzil Ta’ah Adventures’ trips in Arizona in the past and this trip was the first time I met Jon in person. It felt like a no-brainer to shoot his titanium Vassago Optimus 29+ tourer, so check it out in detail below.

Dzil Ta’ah Adventure’s Navajo Youth Bikepacking Adventure Series:  John’s Canyon

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Dzil Ta’ah Adventure’s Navajo Youth Bikepacking Adventure Series: John’s Canyon

Recently, the Navajo Nation reinstated a 57-hour weekend lockdown due to the spikes in COVID in several communities. This put a hold on our first official Dzil Ta’ah Adventures youth bikepacking series outing in Nazlini, which was originally slated for September 26th. Once the lockdown is lifted, which we hope will be soon, we will proceed as planned with the Dine Composite participants. With the postponement of our first trip, we felt like this was an opportunity to leverage the extra time and continue to shape our mentorship program and build more of my team’s dexterity with an outing in John’s Canyon, Utah, at the southwestern base of Cedar Mesa.

Dzil ta’ah Adventures Navajo Youth Bike-Packrafting Adventure Series: Nazlini, AZ

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Dzil ta’ah Adventures Navajo Youth Bike-Packrafting Adventure Series: Nazlini, AZ

This is the first installment of what we hope to be a series chronicling our efforts to develop sustainable tourism on the Navajo nation through the establishment of meaningful bikepacking routes and accessible singletrack. In addition, we hope to build a bikepacking community starting with the youth and eventually extending to interested community members.  Our first foray in this ongoing project will be a Fall bikepacking series with local Navajo youth NICA riders. This series consists of three trips; the first two being on Navajoland and the last with Four Corners Guides, out of Mancos, CO, to include packrafts.

The first in this series begins in Kayenta on Sept 26th and ends Oct 31st in Lake Powell, Utah.  The planning started back in July and continues every chance I can meet up with the participants.

Here is the first of a journal I hope to keep, documenting this event.

Dzil ta’ah Adventures Navajo Youth Bike-Packrafting Adventure Series

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Dzil ta’ah Adventures Navajo Youth Bike-Packrafting Adventure Series

Dzil ta’ah Adventures LLC was created to offer sustainable cultural experiences in the backcountry via bikes and bike packing with most of the commercial tour proceeds helping to build a bikepack community on the Navajo Nation. Whether it be creating routes or mentoring native youth.

Our year to launch was spring 2020. The COVID pandemic resulted in all non-essential businesses being shut down including the Navajo Parks and Recreation department. Parks and Rec are the issuing authority for permits.

Help the Navajo Nation in Kayenta During Covid19

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Help the Navajo Nation in Kayenta During Covid19

All photos by Josh Weinberg

Our friends at Four Corners Guides and our buddy Chris Reichel gave us a heads up on this one.

The Navajo people are suffering terribly from the coronavirus and Four Corners is looking to raise $2,500 to send funding specifically to our pal Jon Yazzieour host in our this trip – and his chapter in Kayenta, so that food and water can be purchased and delivered to Navajo elders and others in need.

You can donate directly to the Kayenta chapter if you like visiting the Kayenta Township OR, please consider donating $5, $10 or $20 on this GoFundMe page.

On the fence about this fundraiser, well, consider these data points:
-62% of Navajos live in poverty
-40% don’t have running water, with many of those unable to even afford containers to hold water. Think about that? How would you feel if you couldn’t wash your hands 10 times per day, as many of us are used to?
-Around 30% live without basic sanitation
-According to the LA Times, there are about 175K residents and only four inpatient hospitals.
-Furthermore, there’s a lack of grocery stores. Where once Navajo elders would drive to bigger cities for shopping, they are now stuck at home.

Thanks for joining me in supporting our friends!