Friday, July 11, 2014

Canyon de Chelly, South Rim - Part One.

The South Rim of Canyon de Chelly is amazing! Several more overlooks than the North Rim, more hiking over natural and, at time, rough terrain; more spectacular views over breath taking canyon landscape. Now you can refer to the map I posted when I wrote up The North Rim, but I suggest you simply pick one up at the Visitors Center.

When we started out from Monticello, Utah, the sky was dark and cloudy; that has not ever deterred us before from our adventures.  Clear blue sky greeted us as we rode through Bluff and took the turn off to continue south on Route 191 into Arizona.  We could feel it getting hotter when we stopped to top off the gas tank (always have a full tank wherever you go in the Four Corners).  A final top off in Chinle before entering the Canyon de Chelly area and this time we took the road to the South Rim.

The first stop is Tunnel Overlook and immediately next to it is Tsegi Overlook.  At the majority of overlooks, whether North or South Rim, will be Native American vendors selling various wares from pottery to jewelry.  The artwork is so beautiful; it's difficult not to want to buy something from each one.  We struck up a conversation with one woman and ended up purchasing a silver and turquoise dream catcher which hangs off the rear view mirror in the SUV.  Not only does it remind us of our visit to Canyon de Chelly, but it feels like the spirits watch over us while we're driving on our adventures.  Anyway, here's a few photos of Tunnel and Tsegi Overlooks...

Tunnel Overlook

Tsegi Overlook Panorama

By the way, and I know some of you need to know this, the South Rim is 37 miles from the Visitors Center to Spider Rock. How far is each overlook from the next? Oh please, stop looking at the odometer and simply enjoy the ride! Which leads to the next overlook, Junction Overlook which has a view of Canyon de Muerto and Canyon de Chelly.  Make sure to look around the sides for the ruin sites.

Junction Overlook Panorama

First Ruin at Junction Overlook

Junction Ruin at Junction Overlook

That's right, here I am again standing on the edge of forever; Roy loves taking this kind of shot of me to prove that I do it.  The overlooks do have a small manmade wall for the faint hearted, but the majority is left au natural.  Watch that first step, it's a doozy is not an understatement!
Next stop on this first part adventure is White House Overlook containing White House Ruin and Trail.  This is about the half way point of the 37 mile trek along the South Rim and requires a bit of hiking.  White House Ruin got its name from the white plaster seen on the canyon wall and some of the dwellings; it dates back 1,000 years.

White House Ruin

Caves in the upper walls of the canyon.

Now remember how I'm always saying, make sure to bring a picnic meal on your adventures.  White House Overlook was a perfect place to settle under one of the few trees and enjoy our meal.  My Homemade Chicken Salad accompanied with fresh sliced tomatoes and red onion, and pickled sweet banana pepper slices.  A friend of ours had given us goat cheese topped with honey and walnuts which went so nicely with garden vegetable crackers.  This is where part one of this story ends; where we sit under a now partially clouded sky, a soft breeze traveling over us and throughout the canyon. and a bird sits in a pinyon tree singing a melody.

Till part two...

Mary Cokenour

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