Canyon de Chelly

September 6th & 7th

I drive from Page across the Navajo Indian Reservation to the town of Chinlé, gateway to the Canyon de Chelly National Monument which is home to some of the best known cliff dwellings of the Pueblo peoples. The next morning I drive along the rim roads above the network of canyons, stopping at the many overlooks that provide views onto the farmlands and cliff dwelling sites below. Visitors aren’t allowed access to the dwellings except on special visits accompanied by Navajo guides.

The views of the canyon floor are beautiful:

1b_canyon floor

 

Like the other canyons we’ve seen, these, too, are vast…

2_like the other canyons...long

…but they are privately owned and contain working farms:

3_but this one...working farms

 

The ancient cliff dwellings here  are numerous:

4b_closeup

A good view of the surrounding fields:

5_good view of fields

Road access within the canyon is restricted to the farmers and to guided visits:

6_road access in the canyon...

Some of the dwellings haven’t survived so well:

7_some ruins better preserved than others

And some are easier to photograph that others:

8_some easier to photo than others

This formation is known as the Spider Grandmother, who taught the Navajo how to weave:

9_formation known as spiderwoman, who...

Another dwelling, quite high above the canyon floor…

10_yet another dwelling

…and this is one of the better preserved:

11_one of the better preserved...

The canyons go on and on…

12_the canyons continue

13_and continue

Do you see the face on the cliff wall:

14_do you see the face

 

Learn more about the Pueblo peoples here:

The Pueblo peoples disappeared by about 1350 A.D. I meet a woman at one of the overlooks who holds forth quite knowledgeably about this mysterious disappearance. Apparently they were aliens and their Cosmic relatives came to take them home.  I find that hard to believe and lean more towards the theory of climate change that brought about a great drought in these regions. I remember that the Fremont people in Utah also disappeared about this time.

It would have been fun to see the cliff dwellings more closely, but I didn’t have much time.  I’ll make up for this in New Mexico.

 

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