We were here on October 23rd, 2016
We're here so lets get to the very heart of the Canyon de Chelly, and we'll start with he correct pronominalization Chelly is pronounced as "Shay".
Dottie and I brought our two Granddaughters, Raulin and Kylee here five years ago, and we so impressed with he history and raw beauty of this valley we had to come back. It is located almost in the geographical center of the Navajo Nation, about 95 miles northwest west of Gallup, NM
Kyle and Robin were with us, all of us having left Page, AZ after visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. They stopped and spent most of the day at Monument Valley, and Miss D and I cam on through to Chinlee, where the Canyon is located.
That evening Dottie and I drove the south rim of the canyon for several miles and visited several of the overlooks.
How about last afternoon this spectacular view?
There is a beautiful RV park maintained by the Navajo Park Service at the foot of the entrance to the Canyon and Miss Winnie is snugly tucked into the Cottonwoods Their rates are also very reasonable.
Our Canyon Tour
The canyon is one of the longest continuously inhabited locations i the United States, know to have been inhabited by the ancients prior to the Anasize, dating it back to approximately 800 AD. There are today 40 families who farm and live in the Canyon. In the summer you'll find them in the canyon, and in the winter on top of the ridges where the sunshine can come through.
Ya' At' ehh! and welcome to Canyon de Chelly.
Mr Romero was our Dine Guide for today's trip up the Canyon. Dine being the word for Navajo. The Canyon is open, but only to Navajos, and all other must be accompanied by a guide, weather it be a hiking tour or one in a 4 x 4 suburban which we gladly accepted. Mr Romero family has farmed in the Canyon for centuries, and only left when man dated on the "Long Walk" in 1820 by the US Cavalry.
Every Tun was spectacular in itself. In fact I took way more photographs than you are interested in seeing. But at every turn there was another sensation....... like these cliff dwellings high up the canyon wall.
Just look at the carving wonders that nature has brought over the years. The three washes feeding Canyon de Chelly are the de Chelly, the del Murto, and the Monument the headwaters all coming from the Chuska Mountains.
While in the bottom of the canyon, the farming was not that impressive as evidenced by these next two photos
But when looking at a similar farm from the south rim is is easy to see how it remained hidden. you'll observe the road twisting in behind the cottonwood trees
We did not venture up the Monument wash and stopped under the cottonwoods for a refresher and took time to view the cliff dwellings.
We had the most interesting conversation with this Navajo Lady, and please note the pin on her left collar.
Yes, she is a Breast Cancer Survivor, and was most articulate in telling of us her operation and then proudly exclaiming that she now has been 'Clean' for 5 years. Look at her smile and besides that her jewelry strings were delicate made, so of course this is where our other daughters and granddaughters Christmas presents came from.
Kyle and Robin off up the Del Murito Canyon.
And the the Photo Bug has hit them also. Ah! the lure of these sandstone wall rising some 750' from the canyon floor.
In the canyon Mr. Romero pointed out some petroglyph paintings, and some sand cliff sketches. Can you tell the difference?
By the time we discovered this print I was getting pretty save, but then found out that the CCC boys in the 1930 carved these foot prints to indicate the path of the trail. See how a little success can go to one head!
Dottie found an another Dine artist who does sand carvings, and now Garrett our Grandson has he present too!
The South Rim Drive.
This is a 30 ~ 45 mile drive along the escarpment with many stop and view points. Too, it is the easy and quick way to visit Canyon de Chelly. One does certainly have to pay attention to the paths and the sheer drop offs. It can be 500' ~ 700' in just one step - straight down.
White Horse trail is the one trail that is open to public hiking, without the services of a Guide, but be sure you're up to the steep climb and grades, we were not!
But the Views are awesome. Just look at these natural caves in the cliff walls. I called this one Scallop Valley.
Why this old gnarled Juniper, just because I love a tough survivor!
I just had to show this Dine Hogan, as I have related they are vanishing from the Nation.
This is located for display at the Visitor's Center.
Doesn't this remind you of the Hogan at Monument Valley? Smaller, but still cedar log construction with a hard packed clay floor and all the comforts of home. The Man's content and for a WIFI connection he goes next door to the Visitors Center.