Our journey continued with about a 100 mile drive from Monument Valley to Canyon de Chelly National Monument. As was Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly (pronounced “de Shay“) is located on Navajo Tribal Land. While one is free to drive the rim of the canyon to various outlooks, to visit the floor of the canyon one must be accompanied by a Park Ranger or Navajo guide.
The Monument is actually comprised of three canyons carved out by streams: de Chelly, del Muerte, and Black Rock. The canyon’s history is really the history of the Ancestral Puebloans (also referred to as Anasazi) who lived in the cliff dwellings and, more recently, the Navajo. In the winter of 1864, Colonel Kit Carson attacked and laid seige to the Navajo in the Battle of Canyon de Chelly. Faced with starvation the Navajo ultimately surrendered and were marched to the Bosque Redondo reservation near Fort Sumner. Four years later they were allowed to return to their lands. Today about 40 Navajo families live within the Canyon.
Our first afternoon was spent touring the rim of the canyons and shooting down into them.
The next day we took a tour of the canyon floor then ended the day at a couple of the outlooks again looking down into the canyon.
Next … a throwback to an Eagles’ tune.