Thursday, October 26, 2017

Canyon de Chelly--Hiking to the Bottom

We have been enjoying the views at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and we made it a two-day stay. The views from the rim are nice, but we never have been content with just seeing things from the top. The only way for visitors to get to the canyon floor is to go on an expensive Navajo-led tour OR to hike to the bottom on the White House Ruins Trail. Of course we are going to do the hiking, and Mark is surveying the trail from the top before we went down under.

He went ahead and found a nice comfy rock to sit on while Denisa took this picture from the start of the trail. You'll have to look closely to see his blue shirt as he sits on a red rock on the left hand edge of the picture. We're obviously still a long ways from the canyon floor.

It's a long walk down the many switch backs. But the weather is beautiful and the company is great.

We realize that we've been hanging out in canyons a lot lately--Grand Canyon, Navajo Canyon, and now Canyon de Chelly. It's hard to enjoy the easy hike down, when you have the gnawing realization that you're going to have to hike back out of this thing later.

We are finally down on the canyon floor, where we get glimpses of the farms and hogans down here at the bottom. Signs request that no pictures be taken of these private properties, or of the people that live in the canyon, so we'll abide by the rules. Signs also tell us to lock our cars and put valuables out of sight. We're abiding by those rules as well.

A couple tunnels make the walk shorter, and give some shade on this sunny day in the canyon.

After winding our way across the canyon floor, we finally reach the opposite wall and our destination--White House Ruins. We tried to capture the height of that tall canyon wall. Most of the ruins are tucked into an alcove, while others are at the foot of the wall.

There's a six-foot chain-link fence that keeps us from getting any closer. But we can zoom in to see the two-part village where the pueblo Indians lived around the 1300's.

After gawking at the ruins, and shopping at the Navajo vendors that seem to be everywhere, it was time to head back to the top. Denisa is amazed to see flowers blooming this time of year, especially in the desert where water is at a premium.

This plant is pretty amazing. Most plants bloom until they produce seeds. Once they fulfill that goal, they quit producing flowers. But on this single plant we see bright yellow blooms, dried up blooms, and the fluffy seed heads. This is one plant intent on reproducing in this desert habitat.

We are back on the sloped trail to the top, stopping for breathers and more views into the canyon. We hiked by a perfect little cave carved into the canyon wall. It had a natural bench, and the cave provided its own shade. It was a perfect place to look down into the canyon, and savor another of God's wonders as we are wandering through Canyon de Chelly.

One more tunnel and we're to the top once again. We have made it back out of yet another canyon in this trek across Arizona.

We had a great time at Canyon de Chelly National Monument in this remote part of Arizona. But we're ready to head down the road in search of more of God's wonders.

No comments:

Post a Comment