We packed up all our camping gear in the back of the jeep and left to drive the 3 hours to Canyon De Chelly in Arizona and camp there one night. On the way we stopped at the Four Corners Monument in Arizona, which marks the quadripoint where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. The Navajo Nation maintains the monument as a tourist attraction, and it cost $10 to enter, there is nothing to do there except wait in line to get your picture taken on all four states, or buy from the Navajo vendors set up around the monument. It wasn’t very busy so we were able to get in and out fairly quickly.
We arrived at the small town of Chinle, AZ, and went to the Visitor Center first to find out where to go and what to see here. Canyon De Chelly National Monument, established in 1931, includes two large canyons, Canyon de Chelly, (pronounced “d’shay”) to the south and Canyon Del Muerto to the north. Canyon de Chelly got its name from the Navajo word Tseyi, which means canyon or “in the rock.” Canyon Del Muerto, Spanish for “canyon of the dead,” was named when remains of mummies were discovered on an archeological expedition in the 1880s. Canyon de Chelly is entirely owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust of the Navajo Nation, and approximately 40 Navajo families live in the park. We decided to do the North Rim Drive first and walked to the overlook of the Antelope House Ruins. We were in awe as we viewed the canyon from the overlook and its 1000 feet walls of red, black and orange. The Antelope House ruins were nestled on the canyon floor under an alcove. We used our binoculars to see the ruins up close. Continue reading