Friday April 3rd
After the 10hr drive into Window Rock, Arizona the night before I started early and had breakfast at the Quality Inn Navajo Nation before starting the 70 mile drive to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. The scenery changed considerably while driving there and it started to look more like that 'southwest style'. I had to stop a few times to take photos from the edge of the road. I also came across my first tumbleweed experience. Ever since leaving Oklahoma the wind was very strong and with the strong winds, there were a bunch of them blowing around. If you hit them while driving most would just shatter and break but some would get stuck under the car. I discovered that the hard way when one I purposely ran into decided to lodge itself into the front gate of my car.
I arrived at the Canyon and the wind gusts were strong!!!!
For nearly 5000 years, people have called this Canyon home. Even now, the Navajo live and work here. Canyon De Chelly is home to ancient cliff dwellings.
Along the drive, there are a number of overlooks. At one of the overlooks a navajo indian came along and introduced himself and pointed out some points of interest. He was also selling some paintings that he did on some rock slabs and I bought one for $20. At the next overlook there was another Navajo who I saw this time painting onto a piece of rock slab. I bought this one as well and was allowed to take a photo of the artist holding his work. After this I arrived at the White House Ruins Trail. This is the only trail that you can take down into the Canyon with a Navajo guide with you.
The trek is 1.5miles and is definitely worth it. The way the light hits the orange and red rocks is neat. Once I arrived at the ruins the winds had kicked up so much sand that visibility and light was getting really low. What started off as some strong winds ended up turning into a dust storm and I started to regret wearing a t-shirt as the sand being blown against me started to really rip against my skin. The ruins are not small but they look like tiny toy/clay house models when they are compared to the size of the sheer cliff that they are placed in. This particular dwelling consists of 80 rooms and was inhabited between 1040 and 1275.
The trek back up the canyon was strenous amd visibility was really poor. I drove to Spider Rock (again the views were amazing) before driving back towards Holbrook. Right ouside the park is a town called Chinle. Occasionally while driving there was so much sand blowing across the roads that it was hard to see (like a very thick fog). On the way to Holbrook .....