Thursday, September 30, 2010

Vacation Photos--Canyon de Chelly's White House Ruins

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.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Vacation Photos--Canyon de Chelly's Spider Rock at Sunset

What do you do when you've set up your camp in the campground, had your dinner, done your dishes, and there's still sunlight left at a beautiful canyon location?  Grab your camera and head for an overlook!

The setting is beautiful.  The light was wonderful.  It was just the two of us for most of the time.  There was another couple for a while.  The male half of the couple offered photography tips to me, clicked away, and then left!!  How could you not stay for this?! 

Turkey vulture near Spider Rock

There was another young man at the overlook.  He stayed the whole time we did.  However, he was braver than we were and climbed over the short wall and sat on the rocks that REALLY overlooked the canyon.  He enjoyed the entire spectacle in silence.  We saw him again the next day on the White House Ruins trail into the canyon. 

I'm warning you:  we took LOTS of pictures from this overlook.  I'll not share ALL of them with you, but it's such a special place . . .

According to the Navajos (Dine), Spider Rock is the home of Spider Woman, the savior of the Navajos from the monsters who were killing the people.  Spider Woman taught the ancestors of the Navajos how to weave on a loom.  Spider Woman also enforces obedience in children. 

Mother Nature cooperated beautifully.

My man took some fantastic photos!  He did some black and whites.
Then he switched to color.
What a way to start an adventure in a special part of the world . . .

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vacation Photos--Hubbell Trading Post

Hubbell Trading Post at Ganado, Arizona

We got a chance to get away for a great trip this year.  We decided to visit the Four Corners area of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado (we missed Utah because we kinda made up the end of the trip as we went along).  We're interested in archeology lately, so we headed off to visit some historical sites. 

First off, we traveled to Hubbell Trading Post at Ganado, Arizona.  It's a national historic site.  The trading post there is one of the historic buildings there and is still in operation.  The wooden floor really creaks.  No one moves in that building without making a sound!

We ate our picnic lunch at a table provided in the shade of some HUGE cottonwood trees.  It was quite peaceful.  We visited the trading post and walked around the grounds.  There is the old house that the Hubbell family lived in while they traded here, the garden, the chicken house, another residence, and a guest hogan. 

Above the door to the trading post. 

I was interested in the Navajo Churro sheep and their guard llama, but . . .
They were none too interested in me!

The old barn at Hubbell

Did I mention that this place was really peaceful?