Thursday, May 19, 2016

5/18 Canyon de Chelly National Monument

This is a wishbone shaped canyon valley that has been occupied by Native Americans for many centuries.  It is now a national monument, but the Native Americans still live on the canyon rim and in the canyon floor much as their ancestors did.

My goal today was to drive from Page, Arizona, to Gallup, New Mexico, which was about 260 miles. I was headed to a favorite campground near Santa Fe, which I will post about in a couple of days.  However, I had completely forgotten that my route went past Canyon de Chelly, which is pronounced "shay" by the way.  Way back in  2011 before I started motorhoming, I had visited this place in a rental car and had taken a tour down to the valley. Tours are allowed only in Native American vehicles or by very difficult to get special permissions.  In other words, individuals cannot drive, hike, or even rock climb into the canyon.

 
This is what it looks like.

The rim is high desert and very, very rocky.  You can see why it would be difficult to farm here, although there are farms scattered about. Mostly they seem to raise horses and sheep.


This is the first peek we get on the South Rim of the relatively lush canyon below.

It is a long way down here, but you can see how many trees there are and how green it is.  Some of the trees are planted and provide the residents with peaches and apples.  The horses and sheep get water from a river that flows much of the year.  In addition, the people who live here dig ponds that hold water all year.

Also, note the storm clouds in the distance.


Here is a good view of the river. You might see some dark dots that are horses.

And the storms continue to gather.  Check out this video I took: https://youtu.be/pZ1drBFFXSk

This view shows farther down the canyon. 

What a beautiful place to live.  In the visitor center, the lady said that many families live in the canyon only during the summer because it makes it easier for the kids to get to school.

These next three photos were taken a few miles closer to where the two halves of the canyon join. 
 
Here is an active home.
 

The rain finally poured down.  I took this photo of the pools in the rocky area next to my motorhome, where I was huddling waiting for the rain to stop. Finally, I gave up and decided to return another day.

As I left Chinle, the town near the monument and headed south and then east, I noticed a car flashing its headlights at me.  This was what they were trying to warn me of, I assume.  Here, the rain had fallen as wet snow and hail.  There was no place to stop or turn around, so I had no choice but to drive up this steep hill with slush on the road.  


Check out the car in the ditch off to the left.  Reminds me of Michigan!  

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