12 July 2013

Back to Arizona

Yesterday morning, we left Farmington and headed west again.  Our destination was another Native American historic site, Canyon de Chelly.  The drive only takes about 2.5 hours, so we didn't mind stopping when we came across a photo op.

Our route took us past Shiprock, which one can't really get close to, as it's protected.  We'd driven by on Tuesday for picture-taking purposes, but yesterday's drive took us around to the other side.  Tod took many shots on both days; I just took a couple with my phone, but I thought they came out pretty well, even though I'm not tall enough to aim over the fence.

Getting closer to Canyon de Chelly, we came upon a couple of viewpoints that looked interesting.  At the first one, Mummy Cave Overlook, ours was the only car in the parking lot. 
Tod is wondering why there's no one else around.

It was very quiet, and very cool to be the only people there.

If you look closely, you can see quite an elaborate cliff dwelling.  Our next stop was the Massacre Cave Overlook.  Again, we were the only people there when we arrived, but several groups were coming in just as we were leaving. 

After we checked into our hotel, we arranged for a jeep tour of the canyon itself.  Tourists are not allowed in the canyon without a guide, because it's Navajo land as well as for safety reasons.  Our guide was an older man named Dave, who was very charming and funny.  His vehicle was old and cranky, and stalled a few times before we even got off the highway.  He assured us that it was quite safe; he'd driven less reliable trucks before without any problems. 

Dave had been born in the Canyon, and spent most of his life in the area.  He'd apparently worked on some of the archaeological projects that uncovered the dwellings and wall drawings in the canyon.  On our three hour tour ("Don't worry", said Dave, "I'm not like Gilligan".) 
Both Tod and I took many, many pictures of cliff dwellings, pictographs and petroglyphs.

Today, we did a leisurely drive from Canyon de Chelly to Gallup, New Mexico, with a stop at the Hubbell Trading Post about halfway through. 

Here in Gallup, we're staying at the historic El Rancho Hotel, the residence of choice for many movie people when filming in the area.  Each room is named after an actor from the "golden age".  We are in the Kirk Douglas room, which has an adorable little kitchenette attached. 

Tomorrow, we plan to attend the monthly rug auction in Crown Point!

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