The south rim drive along Canyon de Chelly gives one the big picture of its depth and length. The walls tower over one thousand feet high at its deepest. The wash meandering through it doesn’t seem powerful enough to have carved this spectacular scenery, but it becomes a raging river that floods the canyon floor at times during the year.
Visit my previous post, Canyon de Chelly, for views inside the canyon, petroglyphs, ruins, and history.
I often choose to read stories that complement and inform about places I travel. On this journey, I reread a couple of Tony Hillerman mysteries, set in Navajo country. The Fallen Man takes place in this canyon. Hillerman’s novels celebrate the stark but beautiful landscape of the area and feature authentic characters that reflect the Diné culture. One of my favorite figures is Jim Chee, a Navajo policeman. Chee prefers the healing ceremonies intended to bring a criminal back into harmony with his world, rather than imprisonment, used as punishment in white culture. The grandmother of my tour guide’s family (see previous post) helped teach the author about Navajo customs. Tony’s daughter, Anne Hillerman, has continued the series, featuring women as her main protagonists.
Heading north, on the way home to Colorado, I drove through Moab, Utah, an area I’ve visited many times, home to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Just south of the town, there’s an arch easily accessible from the road.
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