Grand Circle Day 3-Canyon De Chelly and Monument Valley

March 29, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

***Chinese Version at the bottom***

Getting to Canyon de Chelly

Chinle is near the entrance to Canyon de Chelly National Park, just a few minutes from the visitors center.  The park consists of two areas, the north and south rim of the canyon, along which the park roads form a < shape. The key viewpoints are along the south park road. Since we have limited time, we only drove along the South park road.  Looking down from the first two viewpoints into the canyon, I can see some planted trees. The land belongs to the native Indians. The special thing about this national park is that most lands belong to the Indian nation. The locals still live in the canyon. We can see tire tracks of the pickup truck driven by the locals. There are farm lands in the bottom of the canyon. This place looks like a hidden paradise.

White House Ruin
Looking across the Canyon, the vertical cliff is about a few hundred feet tall. There are several stone ruins in the middle of the cliff. One of them is the one we are visiting, the White House Ruin. From the trailhead, we walked 1.5 miles into the bottom of the canyon. These are sandy trails cut out from the side of the cliff. After reaching the bottom, we walked about ten minutes and then past a small metal bridge. There is no water now. But if there is rain, the water would run through here. A short distance past the bridge is the White House Ruin. The cave dwelling is about 50 feet above the bottom of the valley. Not too tall or deep. At the foot of the cliff is another small stone ruin. On the face of the cliff I can see a few rock art markings, one of which looks like a man. The ancient indians had no written language, just symbols. May be those symbols signify a tribe. There are chain link fences surrounding the area. Some local venders are selling souvenirs near by. The souvenirs are mostly silver accessories with crystal beads. After we are done with taking pictures, we return back to the top of the canyon.

Spider Rock
We continue driving along the S-shape park road. At the end of the park road, there is the Spider Rock. Two huge towers of rock standing in the middle of the canyon floor. Absolutely magnificent! The sky is blue with puffy white clouds. Light is just perfect. 

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Today we need to get to Monument Valley. We hurry back to Chinle, grab a quick lunch and continue north through US-191 North, Indian Route 59, US-160 West, US-163 North. Two hours later we arrived at the Arizona and Utah border Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. This belongs to the Navajo Indians, not part of the National Park system. Got to pay separate entry fee of $6 per person. There are 17 miles of dirt road inside you can drive through. Or you can pay for the tour and park your car at the entrance. We were here before some years ago. I felt that there are many more visitors now. The condition of the dirt road is rougher than before. Last time I had to return before sun down so I did not have much time. This time I am staying at a hotel nearby so I can stay later till after dark. From the visitor center you can see the Left and Right Mittens. Along the park road we saw the Elephant Butte, Camel Butte, Three Sisters, Rain God Mesa, Totem Poles, Artists Point, The Window, The Cube, Spearhead Mesa. Last time I was here I felt like I went to Mars. This time I still feel the same. We returned to the visitor center near the entrance before sunset. We left after watching sunset.  

Goulding's Lodge Campground
I booked a cabin in the campground because it is much cheaper than the hotel. It is nearly 8pm and got dark very quickly. We almost got lost and couldn't find it. The office closes at 8:30pm and we almost missed it. I wouldn't know what to do if I didn't get the key. After we got the key, we had dinner at the Lodge and returned to the cabin for the night. I woke up at 4am to try to shoot the night sky. But there were too many street lights at the campground. I did not dare go too far. The sky started to turn light before 5am so I returned to the cabin to sleep. 

***Chinese Version below***

Getting to Canyon de Chelly
Chinle 就在Canyon de Chelly 入口附近,幾分鐘車就到訪客中心,問一下資料,公園分成南北兩部分,像個<符號,車路分別在峽谷兩邊,主要景點在南邊,由於時間有限,決定只走南路,最初兩個景點從峽谷之上看下去,可見紅石谷之中種有樹木,屬於印第安人所有,其實這個國家有一個特別之處,它大部分土地屬印第安人所有,山谷之中依然有本地人住在其中,可以看見私人pickup truck 車子輪胎痕跡,亦有耕地的輪廓,感覺上好像沙漠之中的峽谷隱藏著世外桃源。

White House Ruin
望過對面山崖直上直落幾百尺,幾處山腰有山洞石屋遺跡,其中一個就是我們要去的White House Ruin. 到了路口,下車而行走1.5里路進入谷底,沿途是依山崖而設的沙石小徑,走到谷底後是十幾分鐘直路,越過一條小鐵橋,橋底沒有水,不過若有難得一見的雨,這𥚃就會有水,過橋不遠就是White House Ruin, 山洞離谷底約五十尺,不算高,也不覺深,山腳處有另一個石屋遺跡,山崖上有幾個簡單的石刻,有個像人形,據說土人沒有文字,只有符號,可能以符號作記認,標誌著是誰人的家或那個族群的領土,有鐵網圍住,附近有幾戶本地人賣紀念品,主要是銀線穿上彩色小石珠的飾品,影完相後原路返回山上。

Spider Rock
上車再走,沿途係我見慣的紅石山徑一連串S形路,到路的盡頭有Spider Rock, 在峽谷之中矗立兩個擘天巨柱,非常有氣勢,正好天上藍天白雲,光線一流。

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
今天要走很多路,怱怱駛回公園入口Chinle,快快食個午餐,再向北進發,US-191 North,Indian Route 59,US-160 West,US-163 North,2小時後到Arizona and Utah border的Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park,屬於印第安人所有,不屬於國家公園,另收入場費六元一位,裏面係十七里沙路,可以自己駕車進去,或比錢坐觀光車,我以前來過一次,覺得今次人多了很多,路面狀況差了,上次要走回程路所以日落前走了,今次住附近,可以留夜點,日落後才走,所以慢慢行,景點有入口處所見最易認的左右手套山Left and Right Mittens,大象山Elephant Butte,駱駝山Camel Butte,三姊妹Three Sisters,雨神山Rain God Mesa,圖騰柱Totem Poles,藝術家點Artists Point,窗口Window,四方骰仔石The Cube,矛頭山Spearhead Mesa,上一次來到Monument Valley我覺得好似去咗火星咁,今次依然有同樣感覺,日落前回到入口處等日落,影到天黑才走。

Goulding's Lodge Campground
我貪平訂了個cabin,木屋仔在campground營地裏面,差點找不到,已經成八點,差點辦公室就關門,拿不到門匙的話唔知點算,先取了門匙,再去食晚飯,之後回小木屋休息。我平夜四點半醒來,拿相機去影星不過四週太多路燈,沒有影到好相,近五點,天開始光了,回小木屋再睡。

 

Back to Day 2-Petrified Fores Day 3-Canyon De Chelly
and Monument Valley
Next to Day 4-Four Corners
and Mesa Verde

 


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