The drive south to the little town of Chinle near Canyon de Chelly ( pronounced Canyon de Shay) was pretty with lots of red buttes and . I don't know the name of this one, but it was sure spectacular.
The BIA is located in Chinle which is primarily a Navajo people community and Canyon de Chelly is located just a few miles up the road. This monument is unique in that it is comprised entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land and the canyon itself is inhabited by the Navajo people who farm and ranch the land. No one is allowed in the canyon without a Navajo guide, except for one short hike to the White House Ruins. The canyon itself can be viewed from overlooks along the North and South Rim reached by motor vehicle.
My first stop was to the campground, which used to be free but now is run by the Navajo who charge $10.00 per night. There is a dump and water, but there are no hookups at the individual sites. Once settled, I headed to the visitor center for more information. I found out there would be a ranger led hike to Spider Rocks the next morning. Wow, a free guided tour. I was told the hike would be strenuous with 1000 foot elevation decent and of course ascent on the way back, but no indication of how long a hike it would be.
Sandi and I jumped in the Jeep and drove the North Rim of the Canyon and drove down to the various over looks.
These are just some of the views from the Rim. This one is looking at the bottom of the Canyon. On the bottom left you can see a small field that recently has been tilled.
Below is Spider Rock, where we are suppose to hike to tomorrow. The tall rock is Spider Woman. Legend has it that the faces of misbehaved children are on the shorter rock, placed there by Spider Woman.
We then drove over to the South Rim to a few of the overlooks, including the Spider Rocks (see comment above), which was pretty far out. At this point I couldn't figure out where the trail was to get down. Guess I'll figure that out in the morning.
When we returned to camp, Sandi called a few of the tour companies to arrange a Jeep tour for Monday morning. Everyone I had talked to, said a Jeep tour was a must in order to see the canyon. So, I figured I would splurge. Mornings would be best for the good light and the weather was predicted to be good so we requested an open Jeep. Yes, I have a Jeep, and yes I could have hired a guide to accompany me in my Jeep, but I wanted to see the canyon and be free to take it all in , not drive the canyon.
Tomorrow, off to hike the canyon floor.