Saturday, May 07, 2011

Chinle, Navajoland (Canyon de Chelly)

It was a bright blue sky with the promise of a beautiful day and that is exactly what we had today.  Our Native guide for the journey was Colleen who had grown up in Canyon de Chelly (pronounced SHAY) and along the way she stopped beside her family property while explaining Canyon family history. Colleen spoke with uncles, aunts, and cousins when at the stops allowing us to feel 'at home'. We met her uncle, Travis Terry, who plays the Native flute. Bev asked if he would give permission for a photograph, he not only allowed it but he went by the river, with a cliff house behind him, and played flute, it was a special moment. I bought Travis' CD's on our return to Chinle and gave Bev a set to complete her birthday gift.

Travis Terry plays Native Flute

We were in the canyon for four hours and bounced over sandy paths and splashed through the river seeing ancient cliff houses, pictographs and petroglyphs.  Colleen stopped at one point and gave us the family history of Canyon de Chelly, she told us the Navajo history and what the Spanish, and also Kit Carson, did to the pueblo people when they first entered the canyon.  There are apparently ~2,000 cliff dwellings in the canyon most in areas that the tours do not go.

We saw The White House Ruins up close and that was a special view.  I had seen it three times from the rim but nothing beats seeing The White House Ruins from the canyon floor.

Pictographs and Petroglyphs
Pictographs are painted on the canyon walls.
Petroglyphs are scratched into the rock.
Kokopelli is playing for rain, that is why he is on his back. The direction of the snake is the direction of the rain. There are positive and negative hand prints, and a stick figure frog.
Two horsemen chasing a deer into an enclosed canyon so they can kill it, without damaging the pelt. 
A Spanish soldier riding his horse.
The circle motif is a petroglyph.
Cliff dwelling
The horses roam free
The White House Ruins
Antelope House
The cat


The spiritual Spider Rock
 The White House Ruins to the naked eye.
The White House Ruins using zoom lense.

Bev and I were very happy to have taken the 4x4 tour through the valley as Canyon de Chelly is such a special place.  A magical day!


  1. Dearest and Bev (I can see you are family, Vicente saw the first picture of you and without knowing that you were travelling together said to me: gosh Luiza has lost weight......hi hi), I read all the stories and I love it. It brings back some many great and beautiful memories. And as I thought: what a great trip in the CdC. Still my dream to do that once, I was so impressed by the energy there. Enjoy the rest.
    P.S. Tim is getting better every hour but it goes slowly and it will going to take a long time to full recovery.
    Besos, also from Vicente, Kees XXX

  2. Thank you for the compliment Vicente as my young cousin (Goddaughter) is very attractive. Oh, Kees please know that you and Andrée were with me yesterday and I wished we had taken the canyon tour together in 2008. Next time! Good news about Tim and I will still keep him in my thoughts.

    Love, Luiza