Summer 2009

Gallup, NM

12 June 2009

General Information

Local Map


Photographs and Commentary
Click on picture to enlarge

This morning we woke up to a crisp 37 degrees... we turned on the heat at a time we thought we would use our air conditioner. It was as though we took a wrong turn somewhere and wound up back in Alaska.The day warmed up quickly and it was in the low 60s with bright sunshine by the time we got on the road. Our destination was Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon D'shay) located outside of Chinle, AZ.

Our first stop before getting to Canyon de Chelly was to the Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, AZ. The trading post has been operating here since 1876. It is the oldest continuous trading post in the Navajo Nation. The Hubbell family operated it until 1965 when it was sold to the National Park Service. The trading post is now operated by a non-profit organization committed to maintaining the trading post as it was under the Hubbell family.

Canyon de Chelly has been inhabited, almost continuously, for nearly 5,000 years. The earliest residents built no permanent structures, but remains of encampments were found in the Canyon. Later people built homes high in the canyon walls and farmed the canyon floor. Ancient Puebloans, predecessors of today's Pueblo and Hopi people, came next. These people, called Anasazi (Ancient Ones in the Navajo language), built complex structures on ledges in the cliff walls. About 700 years ago, the Anasazi left for reasons that are still unclear... climate change is thought to be the major factor. Eventually the Navajo occupied the canyon and still live and farm the canyon floor.

The floor of the canyon can only be reached on a guided tour through one of several Navajo companies. The only place one can enter the canyon without a guide is the 2.5 mile White House Trail which winds its way down about 800 feet from the mesa to the floor. Access into the canyon floor is available either through the tour company vehicles or accompanied by a Navajo guide in your own vehicle. At the mouth of the canyon, near the visitors center, is a road that leads to the floor. The canyon walls at this point are about 30 feet high. They reach 1,000 feet deeper into the canyon.

We took the option of viewing the canyon by driving the south rim road to various lookouts where most of these pictures were taken. After returning to the visitors center we took the advice of one of the employees of the campground and took the north rim route and stopped at one more lookout, drove on to Tsaile, AZ and then picked up Route 12 to Window Rock and on to Gallup. The ride back was through beautiful country with high desert, alpine meadows and forests. For most of the route from Tsaile to Window Rock there were always red mesas in view.

Most of the pictures below show the ruins of Anasazi dwellings and require little or no comment.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

Hubbell Trading Post Exterior

Exterior of the Hubbell Trading Post main building

Hubbell Trading Post main store area

Main room. There are other rooms that sell indian crafts.

Canyon de Chelley

View of the Canyon floor from the Tsegi Overlook

picture by Susie

White House  Ruin

White House Ruin, named after the white washed structure on the ledge
picture by Susie


A Navajo hogan

right, picture by Susie

Right, Spider Rock

Structures at the base of Spider Rock

Navajo Fortress. This is a stronghold where the Navajo held off the Spanish soldiers.

A Little Bit of Nature

Cactus Flower with Bee

Cactus flower with bee

This lizard was quite cooperative. I could not get a good shot of him from where I first noticed him. He stayed in the same pose until I got a better angle on him. I noticed that he was still there when I passed this point on the way back to the parking area. I guess he was waiting for me to take more pictures

Seen On The Road

At one of the lookouts I noticed that people were leaving cairns (piles of rocks)... a way of saying, "I was here." The creator of this cairn had a sense of humor

I want to caption this one, picked up on the road. I was getting some pictures and Susie picked up John, a biker, on a long road trip. I thought she was going leave me and become a biker chick.

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