Saturday, November 26, 2016

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona

Numerous times we have wanted to visit Canyon de Chelly (pronounced de Shay), but it has been snowing or too cold every time we were in the area. So we are excited for the unusually warm fall this year when we are passing through northeast Arizona on our way to Lake Havasu City for Thanksgiving.

Located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, this national monument is sacred to the natives who live here. The canyons are still inhabited by a few Navajo families following the old traditions. This gorgeous viewpoint at Antelope House Overlook shows Canyon del Meurto (Canyon of Death) on the left and Black Rock Canyon to the right.
The Antelope House ruins, built at the bottom of the Canyon de Chelly. While there are many side canyons, Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto are the two main canyons of the park.
Following the North Rim Drive along Canyon del Muerto there are three overlooks. The first is Antelope House, and the second is Mummy Cave shown here. This is one of the largest ruins in the canyon believed to have been occupied until 1,300 AD.
The final overlook on the North Rim is Massacre Cave, which has a brutal history. In 1805, about 115 Navajo thought they would be safe from a group of Spanish military by hiding in this cave. But when they were discovered, the Spaniards opened fire from the rim, killing everyone on the ledge. Their refuge became a death trap.
From the South Rim, a view of the White House ruins, built and occupied about 1,000 years ago. The name comes from the white plaster wall in the upper dwelling.
The White House Trail is the only access into the canyon and ruins without a native guide. The trail is not difficult and is only 2.5 miles round-trip, although it descends about 600 feet into the canyon, and of course 600 feet back up. Many horses roam through the canyons.
White House from inside the canyon. Brad is pictured with Sam, a young girl from Texas who asks if she can hike this trail with us since she is traveling alone and a bit nervous hiking into the canyon by herself. Of course, we are happy to have her along.
Just a beautiful shot of the cottonwood trees along the dry creek at the White House ruins.
Spider Rock is at the end of the South Rim Drive. The spires climb 800 feet from the canyon floor.

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