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Interested in Cultural Immersion?

Most of our Cultural Immersion Tours for 2024 are booked. Please contact us to reserve your 2025 dates.

Here you will find our standard itinerary for the Yei Bi Cheii and Sheep Camp Trip. The best way to think about these trips is that they are a lot like rafting: You get to go with your friends to remote locations that have rarely been visited and you can bring more stuff than backpacking. However, there will be no electricity, running water, or cell service where you are going. Even though vehicles can support both camps, roads can become temporarily impassible following a storm. There are pit toilets, shade structures, and caches of emergency water at both locations. Footpath Journeys will provide one meal of delicious Navajo Tacos on the third night, but it is impossible for us to accommodate so many modern diets. In a medical emergency, Footpath Journeys is CPR and First Aid certified, but we highly suggest that at least one member of your team has a more advanced medical background as well as an In-Reach satellite device. All of this means that your group will need to be completely self-sufficient and be prepared to alter plans if necessary. This is the opposite of "glamping".

With all of that said, a cultural immersion experience with Footpath Journeys is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is a chance to learn from Lupita, to explore remote areas, and to support the Dine' people who are keeping their culture alive. We have hosted hundreds of groups in our 30 years of experience and are sure that you will have an incredible time.

For either camp, $3250 pays for a group of up to 15 people for the 4-day experience. There is also a backcountry camping fee required by the Navajo Nation of $15 per person per night. Participants will pay this fee when we meet in Chinle the morning our trip begins.

 

For groups of 15 to 30 the price is $4500 and may require additional permitting and fees.

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Yei Bi Cheii

Itinerary: Day 1

9 AM: Meet in Chinle to go to visitor center, get permits, and drop off gear to be driven into camp. When this is finished, park the cars and begin hiking.

 

At the rim, Lupita will teach you how to properly enter the canyon in the traditional way and give a formal introduction. Afterwards you will hike down to White House Cliff Dwellings for a talk and pictures. You will arrive at Yei Bi Cheii camp after lunch to set up your tents and cooking area.

When you are done, Lupita will show you the graineries that her great-grandfather built and take you to a wall of petroglyphs and pictographs near camp. She will also take you to the caves where she used to play as a child and tell stories in the shade. 

 

After dinner on your own, the group will gather at the campfire to learn about the Four Elements of the Dine’.

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Itinerary: Day 2

Eat breakfast, pack a lunch and hike up the Yei Bi Cheii Trail. This is an ancient trail with steps worn into the sandstone. It is steep and has some exposure but there are handrails that were installed by the National Park Service.

 

You will explore the rim and visit what is left of the Birthing Hogan to learn about that part of the canyon’s history. Afterwards you will return to camp where Lupita will show you how to grind corn, and teach about it’s importance to the Dine’ people. The goal is to grind enough for a part of a meal in the evening.

 

Dinner will be on your own. In the evening, gather at the campfire for more stories.

When she was a little girl, Lupita would herd sheep up and down these steps everyday.

Itinerary: Day 3

In the morning you will explore Ledges Cliff Dwellings and part of Canyon Del Muerto. Groups may choose to picnic in Lupita’s sister’s peach orchard, or explore trails in Canyon Del Muerto. 

 

In the afternoon, you will be participating in several cultural activities. You may use yucca to make shampoo soap for hair washing, put your hair up in a traditional Dine’ knot, play the stick dice game, or make fry-bread and Navajo Tacos. This meal will be spent together. 

 

After dinner, a relative will come to lead a night of songs and dancing. These are traditional songs for when community comes together. It is important that we celebrate this bridging of cultures.

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Itinerary: Day 4

After packing up camp and hiking to the rim, Lupita will lead you in a closing prayer to help you properly exit the canyon in the traditional way. At this point the group will say a formal goodbye. 

 

Your gear will have been delivered where your vehicles are, and you will have the opportunity to buy jewelry from Lupita’s friend Lionel, and visit casually before you depart.

Sheep Camp

Much of the Sheep Camp Itinerary is the same as Yei Bi Cheii. The biggest differences are that you will drive to camp because it is on the rim, and that you will take different hikes. The hike to Wind Arch (pictured below) is more difficult and remote than the hikes at Yei Bi Cheii. The cultural activities will be the same at both locations.

arch and canyon.HEIC
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Ready to Book?

If you are with a large group or have other frequently asked questions click here.

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