I can still hear the echo of the canyon calling out to me, drawing me back to the beauty and mysterious history hidden between its red sandstone walls.
It was mid-March, just before Spring, when I first beheld the wonders of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, located in the high desert of northeastern Arizona. De Chelly (pronounced de Shay) is a Spanish and English corruption of Tseyi, a Navajo word meaning Rock Canyon.
It was the intriguing history that initially drew me there. After learning about the architecture of the American Southwest, I began to wonder about these “ancient ones” the Navajo called Anasazi, who, over 1000 years ago, built amazing pueblos right into the cliffs. Their existence in North America had always fascinated me and many a daydream had been spent wondering who these early people were and how they lived their lives. Although the Southwest is full of these dwellings, my husband, Dan, and I chose Canyon de Chelly as our introduction into this mystifying world.
After a long, cold night of shivering in our sleeping bags at the park’s Cottonwood Campground, we welcomed the warmth of the early desert sun on the morning of our adventure. Since we allotted only half a day for our visit, we concentrated on the ruins visible from the South Rim and planned a hike into the canyon via the White House Ruins Trail.
To be continued next Monday…