Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hike 2014.050B -- Antelope Overlook, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ

There are several overlooks from the north rim of Canyon de Chelly; the first one your reach from the visitor center is Antelope Overlook. From that parking lot, it's about 1/4 mile to the rim. The trail along the rim hits several viewpoints, and gives a very striking look into the canyon.
This was one of only two overlooks I visited (besides the one at White House, where an actual trail into the canyon) (In fact, the *only* trail into the canyon un-escorted visitors can hike).
From high above Canyon de Chelly, the unaided eye can just make out a couple of white marks on the wall below. One looks distinctly like an antelope. The rest are generally not visible to the unaided eye. But use a telephoto or binoculars, and the wall comes to life.
In the pictures that accompany this post, the ruins are below the dark "fingers" of the wall; the pictographs are just to the left of the ruins.
When we visited (Sunday, September 28), the water was high. It had poured the night before, which made the last bit of driving east from the Las Vegas area quite an adventure. This was our first stop of the morning (after the visitor center), though I think the water stayed high all day. There were also a few showers during the day, but nothing like the night before.
Canyon de Chelly is about 1:20 minutes north of I-40. You'd exit at Chambers, then head north US 191, to Chinle. The park headquarters is maybe a mile east of US 191.
The park is entirely within the Navajo Nation, and has no entry fee. The monument camp-ground is run by the Navajo. A Holiday Inn is located in Chinle. We stayed in the Days Inn in Chambers, which is substantially cheaper than the Holiday Inn.
I don't know if it was the lighting or what, but the photos really look like they're of a minature. But that's the actual ruins, some 650 feet below the canyon rim. The canyon, I may have already noted, is quite dramatic. It was even more dramatic with the clouds gathering above.

From that first overlook, I we continued on the trail along the rim, to another dramatic overlook. In one of my shots, a crow cruised through my frame. That's him, at the bottom right of the shot.
After enjoying the view, we returned to the visitor center, then headed up the south rim road. At the end of that road paved segment of road is an overlook to Spider Rock. That'll be my next post, most likely.

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