Canyon de Chelly
Painted Desert & Petrified Forest

April 11-12, 2013

Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "de shay") is located about 360 miles northeast of our Tucson home, or about 100 miles southwest of the Four Corners area.  At an elevation of 5,500 feet, the early April temperatures average from 37F to 68F degrees, which was very comfortable for both of us.  While there we stayed at the Chinle Holiday Inn ~ the prices were reasonable, the food was great with huge servings, and the Navajo staff were all very friendly!

We had heard that touring through the bottom of the canyon required a licensed guide, so before leaving on our trip we made reservations for a 4-hour tour through the park with Canyon de Chelly Tours.  Just before leaving home we discovered that a huge dust storm was scheduled to hit the canyon on our tour date ~ we called the tour group who rescheduled our tour with absolutely no hassle.  Ultimately we were shown through the canyon by the Navajo guide Ben, who has spent his entire life in the canyon area.  Ben did a fine job showing us the sights and acquainting us with the history of the canyon.

The big surprise for us on this trip was the return drive.  Although we had planned to only visit the canyon, we saw on the map that our return trip would pass close to Arizona's petrified forest, so we decided to take a detour through the park.  The drive through the Petrified Forest National Park as shown on our map was 28 miles long.  But when we got there we discovered that the northern half (approximately) of the drive passed through the Painted Desert and the remainder was through the petrified forest itself.  We found that this part of our trip was every bit as interesting as visiting Canyon de Chelly!

The following 79 photographs represent the best of the 184 pictures that were taken by Bonnie and I . . . enjoy!

(Click on small pictures to enlarge)

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This and the following 9 pictures were all taken from the top of the canyon.

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The following 11 pictures were taken from inside the canyon.

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This and the following 13 pictures are all Anasazi cliff dwellings.
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We were told by Ben that although many tribes lived in the canyon through the centuries, only the Anasazi built cliff dwellings.

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This and the following 6 pictures were taken of the canyon walls.
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Note that petrographs are made by removing the face of the rock and petroglyphs are drawn or painted on the rock surface.

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Ben called this the Dog Sleeping rock.

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This is the Lady Walking.
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Indian Shadow.
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This is our tour guide Ben.  He was showing us that the melody of the flute plus the echoes off the canyon walls created an enchanting sound!


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It's the next day, we've left the canyon and are now at the entrance to the Petrified Forest.
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This photo was taken at one of the first overlooks in the park  We took this picture because we live on Tawa Street in Tucson.  Although the above link says that Tawa was an Anasazi god, there are many many other references to this word.

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This and the following 8 pictures are all of the painted desert.

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The park was just about deserted on the day we visited, as can be illustrated by this picture of one of the overlook parking lots.  The car is our 2102 Toyota V6 RAV4.

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Old Route 66 passes through the midpoint of the park.
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The next 3 pictures are of Newspaper Rock.  Note that the close-ups of the rock drawings are taken with a telephoto lens from a distance of 50-75 feet.

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A bridge made from a petrified tree trunk.
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This and the remaining pictures were all taken in the petrified forest portion of the park.
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Check this picture and the one to the left ~ you'll see petrified forest rocks at the base of the cliffs.

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You may use any of the above pictures for any purpose and may do so without giving me credit.  Note that these pictures have been downsized for those with slow connection speeds.  If you'd like copies of the original JPG pictures, send me an E-mail telling me which pictures you want and I'll be happy to send the original pictures to you at no charge!

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