Photography in the west of the United States is rich in discovered and strange places.

Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area in New Mexico

The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is a 45,000-acre (182 km2) wilderness area located in San Juan County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. Established in 1984, the Wilderness is a desolate area of steeply eroded badlands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, with the exception of three parcels of private Navajo land within its boundaries.

Ah Shi Sle Pah, New MexicoTranslated from the Navajo language, Bisti means "a large area of shale hills." De-Na-Zin takes its name from the Navajo words for "cranes." Petroglyphs of cranes have been found south of the Wilderness.

The area that includes the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness was once covered by an ancient sea, the Western Interior Seaway. As the water slowly receded, prehistoric animals survived on the lush foliage that grew along the many riverbanks. When the water disappeared it left behind a 1,400-foot-thick (427 m) layer of jumbled sandstone, mudstone, shale, and coal that lay undisturbed for 50 million years. 6,000 years ago the last ice age receded, exposing fossils and petrified wood, and eroding the rock into the hoodoos now visible.

Humans have occupied the area almost continuously since 10,000 BC. The area contains numerous Chacoan sites and part of the prehistoric Great North Road, used to connect major Chacoan Anasazi sites in the San Juan Basin. (Source Wikipedia)

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