Saturday, June 14, 2014

US Hwy 191: Canyon De Chelly

Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a stunningly beautiful and significantly historic place. It's actually a complex of several latitudinally converging canyons, with the eponymous Canyon de Chelly being the largest. (Note: The panorama photo setting on my iPhone is my favorite!)

People have been farming the fertile valley and living among the cliffs here for over 5,000 years, from the ancient Anasazi through the Pueblo and Hopi to the modern Navajo.

In the early 1880's, consequences of manifest destiny resulted in "The Long Walk" relocation of thousands of Navajo. In 1868, a treaty was signed which allowed them to return to their original land.

North and south canyon rim drives — each about 20 miles long — offer numerous places to park and walk to stunning overlooks. We spent the morning on the north rim circuit, during which Happy greatly enjoyed many new smells but didn't think much of the constant wind or sheer cliff drop-offs.

At midday, the overhead sun really washed out the details of the rocks, plus the heat and wind were at their worst. So, we retreated to our tidy little campsite for some quality time and dueling naps.

Late afternoon we took full advantage of the sights along the south rim drive. It's virtually impossible to capture the spectacular views with my multi-purpose, all-in-one camera, but this shot of the crown jewel — Spider Rock — probably gives you a pretty good feel for what's to be seen.

It's been a good day, and we're looking forward to another quiet night in our primitive campground before continuing north in the morning… Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

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