Tsegi Canyon (transliterated as “Tsagi” in the 1920s) is a classic locality for arroyo incision in unconsolidated alluvium (Hack, 1945), a process that has occurred widely throughout the American Southwest since the end of the 19th Century. Laguna Creek is the perennial stream that drains Tsegi Canyon. “Laguna” means “lake” in Spanish, and the 1892 edition of the U.S.G.S. Marsh Pass topographic map (1:250,000) surveyed in 1883 indeed shows lakes, more likely ponds, along Laguna Creek at that time. The historical episode of arroyo incision along Laguna Creek is said to have begun in 1884 when the land was bewitched, according to anecdotal Navajo reports recorded by Gregory (1917). The camera stations here are near the mouth of the canyon, just north of Route 160. At this location, there is no indication of arroyo incision as late as July 1927 when the Hanks photographs were taken. While some minor incision at this site may be out of view of any of the Hanks photographs, nothing like what is presently discernible here was visible then.
At this place the 1927 party meets the Wetherill Trail, which they will follow all the way to Rainbow Bridge, known as Nonnezoshe to the Navajo. The Wetherill Trail originated in Kayenta, at the home and trading post of John and Louise Wetherill. The traverse through Tsegi Canyon, as well as the later one through Piute Canyon, is necessitated by water in sufficient quantity for the pack animals.