View near the start of the White House Ruins Trail in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona.
A small desert dweller on the sandstone next to the trail
The ancient people who lived in Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "shay") built homes in the canyon. They used alcoves in the canyon walls for some of their structures. The White House Ruins Trail takes you to one of these ruins. This is the only trail that non-Navajos can take into the canyon without a guide. It's about a mile and a quarter down into the canyon, but centuries back in time.
Part of the trail is carved from the sandstone walls of the canyon
Before you know it, you're well down into the canyon.
Some Navajos live and farm down here in the canyon. We passed a young Navajo couple leading a mare and her colt.
Once you work your way around a bend and cross the wash with water in it (foot bridges, thank goodness), you spot this amazing sight.
White House Ruins (photo taken by my man)
There is a structure at the base of the cliff alongside the wash. There is also the structure in the alcove part way up the cliff. The Ancient Puebloans lived in the canyon until the mid-1300's.
After we looked at the ruins and took waayy more photos that I'm showing here, we picked a spot in the shade of some cottonwoods for our snack. While we were sitting there enjoying the shady quiet, we heard a rattling vehicle approaching. It's a vehicle used for tours in the canyon. On this leg of its trip, it had no passengers. You can see it has no shade. It's called "Shake and Bake," referring to the "comfort" of its ride and its lack of shade.
After our quiet time in the shade, we started our trip back up the trail to the canyon's rim. As we stopped to catch our breath and to get a bit of a break from the hot sun, I took some abstract looking photographs of the canyon wall. Here's one.
After a few switchbacks and a few more "photo" stops, we finally made it to the top of the rim! There was a pleasant breeze that hadn't been able to make it down into the canyon. We walked to the overlook and saw where we had been from a different perspective.
Then we were off to the next chapter of our adventure.