Thursday, May 12, 2011

Canyon de Chelly

Except for a hike to one ruin, visitors can only tour the canyon with a Navajo guide.  You can, however, view it from the rim.  The rim drive has many view points that give great canyon views.
Nature favored us with some beautiful skies when we arrived so I feel justified in linking this post to SkyWatch.

From the rim you can look across the canyon and see many ruins left by the Anasazi now referred to by the politically correct term of Ancestral Pueblo peoples.  Whatever you choose to call them it is amazing that they could live on those cliffs.  Some Navajo will say that when these ancient people lived here the canyon floor was higher and it wasn't such an achievement.

 Theses tall spires are called "Spider Rock".  In the Navajo belief system it is believed that Spider Woman made her home here.  Spider Woman was said to have taught the Navajo how to weave.
One version of the myth can be found here.

The following day we hired a Navajo guide and went into the canyon itself.  The river meanders back and forth across the canyon and so does the road, such as it is.  Our guide knew just where to cross in her 4x4, often driving in the river for long stretches.

Down in the canyon we got a much better look at the ruins.
We also saw a great many petroglyphs.  Our guide was very informative and tried to answer our questions.  There was, however, a decidedly ethnocentric slant to her commentary.  She wasn't an anthropologist.
  Canyon De Chelly is a hybrid park, a National Monument but on Navajo land.  The park service has rights to the site which will soon expire and there is talk of turning it over to the Navajo Nation.  Our guide wasn't sure it would get the protection it deserved if that were to happen.

See more wonderful views of the sky at SkyWatch, Friday; hosted for us by Klaus, Sandy, Wren and Sylvia.


Gaelyn said...

I haven't been to Canyon de Chelly in over 30 years. Hiked to the White House ruins. Need to get back now that I know more about the Ancient people. A Native anthropologist guide would be nice. I see a petroglyph on the upper right that looks recent, man on horse. Thanks for sharing more of your SW adventure under spectacular skies.

Gary said...

Breath taking tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Sylvia K said...

It is such a gorgeous place! I know I'll never forget my trip there years ago. Superb captures as always, Martha, thanks for sharing them and the information you've included! Have a great weekend!


Spiderdama said...

What a tour and fantastic landscape. Beatuirul shots too:-)

jo©o said...

Again these wonderful reddish rock formations. Does the stone crumble or is it very hard? It looks like it was formed by water.
The shapes are so nicely rounded.

Steffi said...

Wonderful landscapes!Great photos!Thank you and have a nice weekend!

EG Wow said...

Such an amazing place to explore. I'm glad guides are maditory to keep vandals from defacing any of it.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

My mother turned out to be quite a talented painter late in her life and my favorite of hers is a scene of Canyon de Chelly. I'm looking at it right now.

Great photographs. I didn't realize that the Park Service may lose control of the park. I hope whatever happens that it stays protected.

I have talked to Taos Pueblo Indians and they really bristle at the term Anasazi. I don't want to offend people but I need a little help also.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We have wanted to go there for years -- somehow missed it on our several trips to the area. Now it sounds like we'd better hurry up and do it. (Well, at our age, we'd probably better hurry up anyway ;>)!!)

Your pictures are lovely and certainly fitting for Skywatch. And the next best thing to being there for me! Than ks.

Kay L. Davies said...

I was looking forward to these photos, and they're well worth the wait, Martha. Simply stunning. On everyone's bucket list, I'm sure.
I also hope the area stays properly protected if the Park Service is no longer there.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Fjällripan said...

What a great place to visit! So beautiful and interesting. Have a nice weekend :)

Stewart M said...

Wow! What a great place and wonderful set of pictures. I think I may have to save for a air ticket!

I took my post down during the chaos of Friday - its back up now - but the link from FS wont work anymore - you could visit from this comment if you want to!

Cheer Stewart M - Australia

Linda Reeder said...

We spent a wonderful September day there almost six years ago. We took the day long group tour with lunch provided. I remember the wooden flute maker in the canyon, playing haunting music that echoed off the walls. Then we drove along the rim and stopped and talked to some Navajo vendors. I bought a necklace from Grandmother Alice.

Inger-M said...

Awesome photos! I visited Canyon De Chelly in 2001, and was very impressed by it. I do hope they keep protecting it!