On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

entering the canyon


First ruin

interesting shape of rock

Second Ruin

drove under the overhang

lots of water



Third Ruin


Fourth ruin

natural bridge

clear sailing to Tuba City

incredible vistas

Turns out we were four on the tour this morning so we were in a 4 wheel drive Ford Explorer which was driven by Eleanor, our guide. The tour lasted three hours and I must admit that I was very happy that I had seen everything from above first. It gave me such perspective as to exactly where I was in the canyon. I covered a lot more territory yesterday but it's an entirely different experience being in the canyon instead of looking down at it. Three hours really isn't enough time because we would stop, look at petroglyphs and pictographs and listen to the guide give us "the rest of the story." The driving was a bit slow because of all the water - monsoon season is just ending. It was exciting to get so close to the ruins. I didn't have to zoom in quite as much.

Eleanor told us that Canyon de Chelly - pronounced Shay- is the Spanish corruption of the the Navajo word tseyi' which means rock canyon. The pictographs and petroglyphs were done by the Anasazi in the years 900-1250. The rest of the info was description of what we were seeing and impossible to recount. There are nearly 75 families still farming the ancestral lands in the canyon.

The town of Chinle ( chin-lee) has huge unemployment so having natives give tours of the canyon is a terrific boon to the economy. There are two decent hotels and seven decent eateries ( that's including Subway, Burger King, and Church's chicken). Didn't see a grocery store but there has to be one somewhere. If you come for more that two days pretend you are camping and pack a cooler!

My drive to Tuba City was delightful except for some areas of backup because of paint trucks refreshing the white stripes on the side of the road. Tons of puffy white clouds in the sky - they looked like cotton balls. The scenery is always interesting .

Tuba City doesn't look much bigger that Chinle. This is Hopi country and once again I am having difficulty booking a tour because I am a single. If it doesn't happen by morning I will just do the drive myself.

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