Face Rock at Canyon de Chelly



Canyon de Chelly

February 25, 2006

An unexpected third weekend in Arizona. So I decided to head up to the northeast corner of the state to a place called Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de Shay). I cropped the first photo to resemble a well-known black and white photo by Ray Atkeson which you see almost every place where there is a reference to the Canyon de Chelly. It is a photo of a ruin called the White House ruin, because the structure in the back is white. The main differences are that mine was taken from a different angle, and in his the sun was shining into the cave so the white building really stands out.


White House Ruins

The White House ruins

White House ruins
The White House ruins


Around the rim of the Canyon de Chelly

Here are some more photos of Native American ruins within the canyon. When these ruins were first discovered, the discoverers asked the local Native Americans, the Navaho, who the ruins belonged to. They answered Anasazi, which means either Ancient Ones or Ancient Enemies, depending on the inflection used. The Navaho actually only relatively recently moved into this area. The people who these ruins belonged to were actually ancestors of the Hopi tribe. The Hopi do not like the idea of their ancestors being referred to as Ancient Enemies, so they prefer the phrase Ancestral (or Ancient) Puebloans. The park ranger who gave a tour at a ruin in the Petrified Forest explained this and said that they were trying to comply with this request.

I recently saw a show on PBS where the photographer Art Wolfe went to Canyon de Chelly. He had a Navajo guide who referred to the people who lived here several times as the "Anasazi."

The map I picked up showed several places around the rim of the canyon where there are viewing points. So I drove around and took some photos at each point.

Spider Rocks

The first place I stopped was the Spider Rocks overlook. From the plaque at the site: Holy Spider Woman is an important deity in Navajo mythology. It was she who taught the people to weave. There is purity and strength here.

Spider Rocks
Spider Rocks


Spider Rocks
Some ruins on the other side of the canyon


Spider Rocks
More ruins


Spider Rocks
Close up of the ruins


Spider Rocks
It was still winter and there was some snow left in a few spots


Face Rock

Next was the Face Rock overlook.

Face Rock
Close-up of some ruins at Face Rock, which look like they might not be too bad a place to live.


Face Rock
In this photo, however, you can see the ledge where these ruins are located.
Imagine having to climb up and down every day to go about your business


Face Rock
Move lingering snow


canyondechelly
A view of a portion of the canyon


Sliding House Ruins

The Navajo know this prehistoric Anasazi village as Kináázhoozhi, which means Sliding House. It is an apt description. The dwellings were constructed upon a steeply sloping ledge, and even the ingenious Anasazi builders were unable to keep many of the walls from slipping.
Despite the precarious footing, evidence suggests that at one time this was a large village of from 30 to 50 rooms.

Sliding House Ruins
Sliding House Ruins


Sliding House Ruins
Some ruins that can be seen from the Sliding House Ruins overlook


White House Ruins Overlook

The next overlook was the White House Ruins. When you look at the photo of the White House ruins above you can see some ruins on the canyon floor in front of the ruins on the ledge. These were a part of the White House complex and between them there were about 60 rooms housing about 100 people.

White House Ruins
A closeup of the White House ruin


White House Ruins
In this photo you can see the ruins in the distance


White House Ruins
Here you can see some people on the canyon floor
This is the only area in the canyon where you can hike without a guide


Some other man-made structures in the area
White House Ruins
White House Ruins



canyondechelly
A view of the canyon from the White House ruins overlook


Junction Overlook

From this spot you can see the site known as First Ruin as well as the site called Junction.

Junction Overlook
In the distance you can see the site of the First Ruin


Junction Overlook
Here is a close-up of the First Ruin site


Junction Overlook
In the distance you can see the Junction site


Junction Overlook
Here is a close-up of the Junction runis


canyondechelly
A view of the canyon from the Junction overlook


Tsegi Overlook

Here are some views of the canyon from the Tsegi overlook.

Tsegi Overlook
A view of the canyon


Tsegi Overlook
A view of the canyon in the other direction


Tsegi Overlook
Looking away from the canyon


Tunnel Overlook

A view from the Tunnel overlook.

Tunnel Overlook
A view from the Tunnel overlook


Massacre Cave Overlook

The Place Where Two Fell Off

Massacre Cave Overlook
The plaque at the Massacre Cave overlook


Massacre Cave Overlook
The ledge where the Navajo were huddled


Massacre Cave Overlook
A view of the canyon floor from the Massacre Cave overlook


Massacre Cave Overlook
A view of the canyon from the Massacre Cave overlook


Massacre Cave Overlook
A tree at the Massacre Cave overlook


Massacre Cave Overlook
Some ruins across the canyon


Massacre Cave Overlook
A close-up of the ruins across the canyon


Mummy Cave Overlook

Two well preserved mummies were found at this site in 1880. The Navajo name for this site is Tséyaa Kini — House Under the Rock. This was probably the longest occupied site in the canyon, with people living here for nearly one thousand years.

Mummy Cave Overlook
View of the Mummy Cave from the overlook


Mummy Cave Overlook
Closer view


Mummy Cave Overlook
Close-up of the cave on the right


Mummy Cave Overlook
Close-up of the cave on the left


Mummy Cave Overlook
View of the canyon from the Mummy Cave overlook


Mummy Cave Overlook
View of the canyon from the Mummy Cave overlook


Mummy Cave Overlook
View of the canyon from the Mummy Cave overlook


Antelope House Overlook

In these photos, you can see some petroglyphs of antelopes made by the people who lived here. All of the photos I took of Canyon de Chelly were taken from the rim of the canyon. I did not go down into the canyon.

Antelope House Overlook
This is a photo of the area where the petroglyphs are located, and you can see some ruins there also


Antelope House Overlook
Close-up of the ruins


Antelope House Overlook
Here is a close-up in which you can see some of the petroglyphs


Antelope House Overlook
View of the canyon from the Antelope House overlook


Antelope House Overlook
View of the canyon from the Antelope House overlook










Go To Project Gutenberg



Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional


Contents © Copyright 2001 Author: Lee Briggs except where noted. All rights reserved.