Friday, October 17, 2014

Hike 2014.050C -- Spider Rock Overlook, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, AZ

This is the third of three posts from Canyon de Chelly, which I visited at the end of Septem-ber. Still need to finish those blogs.

This isn't really a hike, although a small amount of walking was involved. It's no more than 1/4 mile or so, total, at the end of a road, along a paved trail that overlooks the far southeastern end of Canyon de Chelly.

The Navajo call this place "Spider Woman Rock." Apparently, this is where the being who taught them how to weave came to this earth. I think I heard it that she lives in these inaccessible towers.

Can't get to the base of these rocks unless you've got a Navajo guide. As mentioned in previous posts, the only trail you can take unaccompanied into the Canyon is the White House trail, which will be the next one I'll post about. Otherwise, you're limited to the overlooks and the short walks from those parking areas up on the rim.
This overloook is just like the others I have posted about, previously: It provides astounding views into the canyon that was known in the local language as, "the Canyon." So, if I didn't already mention this in an earlier post, "Chelly" is a corruption of the Dine/Navajo word for "canyon," so Canyon de Chelly would roughly translate as "Canyon Canyon," or "Canyon of the Canyon."
The day we visited was the day after a very heavy monsoonal rain, so the river was running high and muddy. I'm not sure what it normally looks like, but I suspect it's pretty low in the late season.

Despite being a short walk, the trail takes you along enough of the rim to give you a variety of perspectives on the canyon and the Spider Rock.
Even more so, because of the weather on the day we visited, shifting shadows changed moment by moment. For such a short walk, I took plenty of pictures. But, of course, the highlight of the day was going to be the White House Trail, a trip down into the gorge. That will probably be my next post, just so I can finish this particular trip.
Just thinking out loud, Canyon de Chelly is about 3:15 from Flagstaff, and 1:20 from Chambers, AZ (on I-40). That makes it a little long for a day trip from Flagstaff itself. But it was definitely worth visiting.

If you are actually staying in Flagstaff, there are three national monuments (Walnut Canyon, Wapakti, and Sunset Volcano) within one hour of Flagstaff, and two national parks (Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest) within two hours of Flagstaff. So, for future reference, Flagstaff can make a pretty convenient jumping off point for day trips in the area, and it's got enough altitude to be somewhat more temperate in the summer than places like Las Vegas or Phoenix.

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