Here are some photos of our hike into Canyon de Chelly: it took me 2 hours to climb down (the signs say it will take 2 hours round trip). It was icy in patches and muddy in others and down in all of them. I was able to climb out in 27 minutes including time for a photo. What I learned on this hike is that for me, going down when I feel unsteady and wiggly, I can only look at the place for my next footstep, literally Climbing up, I can look several paces ahead. Allen said that might be a good metaphor for me. I think I’ll just let that lie for now…..
and this is near the top, when some high school leadership student from Abilene, Texas had mercy on us and gave us a Kodak Moment breather.
And it was worth it! The climbing felt great. I am certain that I am not a Navajo, however and the idea of pulling my pony up those cliffs is — well. I am not a Navajo.
We headed back to our Navajo run motel in the side of the mountain in Monument Valley and ordered up some Navajo fry bread and ‘traditional navajo fare’. Mine was a Navajo sandwich. It was explained to me that this was more traditional than the quesadilla option. the sandwich was made with flour based fry bread and had thinly sliced turkey inside it with packaged mayonnaise. The quesadilla was not traditional as it was made ‘with corn’. It makes one wonder about traditional and history. Traditional in this case was all about the waitress’s grandmother’s offerings at home. I loved being surrounded by the weavings everywhere – the work of many women’s hands.
I do wonder about the Navajo ways and traditional life. The video at the welcome center mentioned that in the ‘old ways’ the people came to Canyon de Chelly for the spiritual rituals. “When the Seven Sisters (a favorite constellation of mine) rises in the eastern sky (I think I have this right), it is the beginning of our winter… but how many of our Navajo young know this now?”
I asked our guide the following day in Antelope Canyon how to write in Navajo the saying I had heard “we walk in beauty”. He replied, ‘that’s one thing I never learned: how to write in Navajo’. But go to the bookstore in Flagstaff, Salinas. maybe they can help you’
We awoke to a John Wayne movie set in Monument Valley. Jarring is the only way I can describe the morals and the presentation of all of it: looking out our window, ‘stoned’ nearly out of our minds by the beauty and John Wayne all righteous and saving us all from the bad bad injuns. Something like that.
And then — we were off to Page. The plan: ride a boat onto the lake which is 100 FEET down due to drought and over use. The reality: there was NObody at Page. The boats don’t run until mid-February or April 1 (it’s hard to get similar stories sometimes) and anyway the point is, not yet.
We drove about a bit and finally landed in place that offered Antelope canyon tours. This was also VERY big on my list. Here is why:
Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly were 'spotlighted' on a travel channel show not long ago and I quickly added them to my 'very short list'. Your insights are huge incentive to hurry the travel plans along!