Wednesday, July 31, 2013

June 11, 2013 - Canyon De Chelly National Monument and Monument Valley

What an exciting morning, we finally were entering Canyon de Chelly with a guide.  Early in the spring I had booked a tour with Canyon de Chelly Beauty Way Jeep Tours after reading the reviews in Trip Advisor.  We were to meet our guide at the Visitor Center at 9:00.  We packed up camp and moved our rig the short distance up to the visitor center at 8:30.  There were a couple of guides milling around, I wondered how we would find ours.  We noticed the many different vehicles and wondered which would be ours.  Our time in this area had been very hot, 100 degrees, and dusty.  We were hoping for air conditioning, no such luck.  We were in an older Isuzu with all the windows down.  Thank goodness the morning was still and cooler!  Ben, our guide, accompanied me into the visitors center where I was to fill out a permit as the tour leader!  That was different.

Ben informed us of the history of the canyon and the Navajo perspective on the world.  He had been a school bus driver in Chinle, and had insight into the changes he was seeing in the children.  He called the rest of the US, "out there", I asked where that was and he said a lot of the young people were moving to Phoenix.  The following is what I could write as he was talking, and decipher once home.

 Most of the canyon was covered by deep " sugar sand" which made it a challenge for the jeep we were traveling in to get into the canyon.  Trees found within  the canyon are cottonwood, willow tamarask and Russian Olive, none of which are native there.  They were planted in 1934 by the CCC to control erosion.  Gradually, they are being removed.  Chelly means water flowing out, most of the year a river flows out of the canyon and deposits the deep sand.

Hopi and Navaho horseback riders chased deer into the box canyon.  They would take the animal by hand by trapping them in the canyon rather than using weapons to kill them.
In 1540 the Conquistadors entered the canyon looking for gold and stole the Navajo's horses.

Different clans are represented in the canyon.

First Ruin

First ruin, was so named by archeologists.  It was a Anasasi dwelling probably housing 2 clans with 18 rooms,  possibly 18 families lived within it.This ruin has two levels.

White House Ruin

White House Ruin is the only ruin in the park that you can get to without a guide.  To do this you must start on the South Rim and hike down in to the canyon.

An impressive petroglyph we saw in the canyon, unfortunately I can't remember the story behind it.

The Kokapelli petroglyphs in the left center of the photo below seem to represent a woman giving birth at the site.  The positive and negative hand prints were also significant to birth.

To the right of the center of the photo are the constellations.
After our tour we jumped in Great White and arrived at Monument Valley about 3:00. Before checking in to our room at The View we drove through the monuments.

Artists View

We stopped and enjoyed the view at Artisists View.

View from our room!

What a room with a view!  Enjoyed watching the light change on the monuments. 

Lovely large deck outside our room on which we are able to enjoy the sunset.  

Plenty of space in this room, but was disappointed to have to walk to the lobby to access WiFi.  We went to dinner after 8:30 and were disappointed with the Navajo Tacos, wouldn't plan on fine dining if we were to return.

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