September 3, 2004: Canyon de Chelly, north Rim; Monument Valley; Navajo National Monument

  1. After a night in the Thunderbird Lodge at Canyon de Chelly (really a motel, but with a good and also cheap cafeteria, and very close to the canyon), I set out for the north rim, and points north. This would be the first lookout.

  2. It is hard to convey the depth, and the feeling of awe that comes over you when you regard the depth of the canyon.

  3. The rock monuments are spectacular, my lighting in all these pictures is lamentable.

  4. Here you can make out a bit better the fields being cultivated on the floor of the canyon.

  5. I believe in between the two large caves are some Anasazi (?) buildings/ruins.

  6. Yes! There are indeed ancient buildings. Likely from, say, the year 1200.

  7. You can go on 4WD tours of the canyon - "your 4WD", the sign warns - with a native tour guide. That would be fun, if jolting and backbreaking. I didn't have time (or a 4WD.)

  8. Now begins the great, heartbreaking tragedy known as Monument Valley. In and of itself, I don't suppose it is heartbreaking. It is in this context since I forgot to charge my camera battery the night before, and only got a couple minor shots of Monument Valley. I did not even have a chance to snap the most famous and spectacular monuments. It is aptly named. Over a 20 mile square area (it feels like) there are just these monuments standing up out of the desert. It is Navajo controlled completely. Again, you can take 4WD tours that take 3 hours and are very bumpy. I think in this case, you can go in the tour operator's vehicle.

  9. A monumental rock. Again, you have to wonder if anyone tries to climb/rock-climb.

  10. This picture that has a modicum of color and isn't subdued by bad light makes me hope perhaps my camera isn't kaput; it's just the camerawoman who is light-blind.

  11. Funny but true: on the 20-mile drive to Monument Valley from the nearest town (where I had bad Mexican for lunch), I kept an eye out for the sign to Monument Valley. But I drove right past the smallish, seemingly hand-lettered sign. But soon after, I wheeled around, and sure enough, that innocuous sign was the pointer for the Visitor Center, good views, and tours.

  12. This is a stupid shot except that I wanted to give some perspective on how giant these monuments are, and how they are oddly spread out across the desert. Also, the road was empty, as it was everywhere in Northern Arizona, except for the Grand Canyon and also Sedona.

  13. Sage brush and behemoths. What a sorry shot, though, to choke off the battery with! So, sad to say, no shots at the Navajo National Monument, which features some displays of how Indians used to live, and an incredible view of yet another incredible canyon, this one dotted with Anasazi buildings from the 1200s. Definitely recommend going to the Navajo National Monument if you are in the area - also there's a genuine Navajo store there, with great jewelry and other such happy things to buy.

Marianne Mueller
Last modified: September 17, 2004