July 29, 2010

Fun at Canyon de Chelly!

Trying to keep things both educational and interesting for 13 year old Jonathan, we had a blast today on the unique "deuce & a half" tour of beautiful Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Northwest Arizona.  What a unique collection of Anasazi ruins, fabulous views and interesting Navajo culture!  We load up early to hit the Canyon,

and, of course there's only one way in and out of the Canyon by vehicle, yep, you guessed it right up the river!

First stop was at some pictographs for a few minutes explanation from our well-versed host, then we're off through the water again, blasting & bumping along in our pre-WWII army vehicle.

Around the next bend are our first set of ruins, dating back some 1000+ years, they were discovered and protected due to the hard work of Earle Morris and his collegues.

We get a nice glimpse of "Cat Rock" as we motor farther up the Canyon for more adventures.

Ruins and pictorgraphs abound ahead, nicely preserved for us moderns to vist the life of a past culture.

Jonathan & Kim enjoyed the native crafts, especially the jewelry and beadwork.

while across from the displays, a group is set up painting the colorful canyon walls before us!

Heading in farther, we pass "Fortress Rock" where Navajo's fought off U.S. cavalrymen for some two months, only to be captured later.  http://www.navajotimes.com/news/2009/0609/060409fortress.php

We approach a very muddy area only to witness the tour truck in front of us get stuck!  and everyone had to get out as both our driver and the driver of the stuck vehicle shovel extra sand under the tires and successfully get the truck moving again... our tall-tired 2-1/2 tonner got right through without any problems.

The Canyon walls get increasingly interesting and diverse...quite a few Navajo families "own" property along the Canyon floor and we see several Hogans (summer houses) along the way as evidence of their presence.

We are now in South Canyon headed for our last stop of the day,

As we pull up before "White House" ruin, one quickly sees why it is so named,

we have a relaxing rest at this stop, and Jonathan & Kim have plenty of time to inspect more of the exquisite Navajo beadwork.

On the way out we see a nice group of native horses.  Many roam the Canyon, and are used to help maintain livestock in the area.

Out the way we came in, the sky has cleared and turned a deep contrasting blue, making for a nice final memory of the day's adventure!