Arizona – Canyon de Chelly (pronounced D’Shay)

April 22-26, 2015

The cliff walls of Canyon de Chelly (D’Shay) dramatically rise to over 1,000 feet above the streams, cottonwood trees, and small farms of the Navajo people below.  People have lived in these canyons for nearly 5,000 years.  Canyon de Chelly National Monument protects nearly 84,000 acres within the Navajo Reservation, and is administered by the National Park Service.Canyon de Chelly -  01

The national monument preserves the history and the culture of Dine – the Navajo people.  To the outside world it is known as Canyon de Chelly.  To the people who live here it is Tsegi (SAY-ih), a physical and spiritual home.  An Indian guide is required to enter the canyon.  We HAD to go down there!  It was so beautiful and our guide, Terrill, was fun and informative.  But I must admit the jeep ride itself was a blast.  Mike and I have been talking about getting a jeep and this really helped push us toward it even more.

Terrill takes us into the canyon for a 3-hour tour in his jeep.

Terrill takes us into the canyon for a 3-hour tour in his jeep.

Driving in the Chinle Wash was fun!

Driving in the Chinle Wash was fun!

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Hey, I think that guy is trying to pass us!

Hey, I think that guy is trying to pass us!

It was a beautiful day

It was a beautiful day

We drove past little homes, farms, animals grazing and stopped many times to view the ancient ruins and petroglyphs.

Mike is enjoying this a lot!

This is fun!

It was so peaceful down there.  So quiet (when the jeep was stopped).  Only birds and leaves rustling in the breeze.  Really nice.

It was so peaceful down there. So quiet (when the jeep was stopped). Only sounds were birds and leaves rustling in the breeze. Really nice.

Ruins of the Ancient Puebloans

Ruins of the Ancient Puebloans

Compounds were built high on the canyon ledges and alcoves.

Compounds were built high on the canyon ledges and alcoves.

1,000 year old White House Ruin, named for the white plaster wall in the upper dwelling.

1,000 year old White House Ruin, named for the white plaster wall in the upper dwelling.

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Mike gets a piece of Indian fry bread (with cinnamon) from a local woman in the canyon.

Mike gets a piece of Indian fry bread (with cinnamon) from a local woman in the canyon.

We took our own car on the 34-mile North Rim Drive, and the next day we took the 37-mile South Rim Drive.  We stopped at all of the pull-outs, some of which required a short hike to get to the overlook.  At several of the overlooks you will find local Navajo selling their beautiful artwork (jewelry, painting, sculpting).

It was fun to look down and recognize where we had been in the jeep.

It was fun to look down and recognize where we had been in the jeep.

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You can see the homes and little farms in the canyon.

Hiking to the overlook at the cool day.

Hiking to the overlook on the cool day.

Hiking to the overlook on the warm day.

Hiking to the overlook on the warm day.

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Using the zoom lens.

Using the zoom lens.

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Spider Rock

Spider Rock

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It was rainy the day we departed the campground.

It was rainy the day we departed the campground.

We had ZERO wifi or cellular service for the entire 5 days that we stayed here.  I can NOT believe that we lived without it for 7 years on the sailboat, because 5 days off-line about killed us!  We were having major withdrawal, so we left on a rainy day and headed straight to Moab, Utah.  We will spend 3 weeks in this favorite place of ours.

Cheers!

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Arizona – Canyon de Chelly (pronounced D’Shay)

  1. Sounds like a great 5 days amongst some beautiful scenery. It reminds me of the Monument in Grand Junction. So when can we expect a Jeep ride 😉

    • You should put this place on your bucket list. If you don’t plan to go into the canyon on the jeep tour ($75 pp), then you would really only need one day to do the rim drives. You can see the ruins in the canyon from the rim. There is also a good hike (about 2-1/2 miles round trip) down to the White House Ruin which you can do without a guide. The Cottonwood Campground, which is right there in the park, is $14 a night. Dry camping.
      We are looking forward to hiking in the Colorado National Monument again soon!

  2. Gosh that sounds like a great time. Canyon-De-Chelly was on my bucket list but I think I may have messed up not going when we passed it by this past fall. Retired and I was still in a hurry, MISTAKE.
    Thanks for the GREAT post.

  3. What a fabulous post. I don’t often send links to my sweet, sweet man but I am sending this post to him as I type away to you. He needs to see your photos and what to do there. These photos are amazing and a must see for us. We may do this next April! THANK YOU for sharing!

  4. Another area we haven’t been to see yet. I imagine the crowds aren’t as bad there because it is so remote. Sure looks like a fun time, especially the Jeep tour:) I love fry bread. Hope it was good:) Could you get into any ruins there? I am assuming you couldn’t since you didn’t have any photos.

    If you enjoy Moab and the west, you need to get a Jeep!!! We have the basic Jeep Sport Wrangler four door with removable toppers. We didn’t get anything fancy because it is our every day car and John didn’t want to drive around and listen to tires hum all the time. But it goes where we want go and then some. We were amazed at how comfortable the drive is in the four door.

    Have an awesome time in Moab!! We just book the entire month of April at our favorite place Portal RV Resort (the resort side) for next year.

    • Yes, we are feeling quite positive about switching our car out for a jeep. Ours will also be our every day car, so we’ve got to make some reasonable choices. Just starting to do our research. Mike says the fry bread was delicious, by the way.

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