Canyon de Chelly

We spent several days in what is officially the Navajo Indian Reservation, but is locally known as the Navajo Nation. I think I like the local name best, because you really do get the feeling of being in another country, seeing hogans scattered across the hillsides, and hearing Diné spoken everywhere. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

We came particularly to visit Canyon de Chelly, a fertile wash among Navajo sandstone that has been inhabited nearly continuously for over a thousand years, first by the Anasazi, then the Hopi, and since the 1600s by the Navajo.

Since there is an active farming and herding community in the canyon, most areas are off-limits to tourists. However, you are permitted to visit with a certified Navajo guide.

You can visit the White House Ruin on your own, which is a pleasant walk from the canyon top.

We also took a walking tour with Keith, a very knowledgeable and pleasant guide.

The hike starts out through a little gully known as Tunnel Canyon.

The trees were just starting to leaf.

The canyon floor is flooded at this time of year, so we waded through the wash for most of the hike.

Keith showed us several ruins and petroglyphs. They all date from the Anasazi period. This one is called First Ruin.

Such a beautiful place.


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