Canyon de Chelly

We took a break from camping and spent two hotel nights in Chinle, AZ to get a deep dive tour of the Canyon de Chelly. The canyon and park is within the Navajo Nation, and most parts of the canyon are only accessible via tours from certified Navajo operators.

Julie and I have mixed feelings about this visit. The tour was average at best. The Jeep four wheeling through the river and mud may have been the highlight. The river was flowing fast and hard and we were glad to have an experienced driver.

The rock art was ubiquitous, a beautiful mix of petroglyphs and pictographs ranging from ancient to modern.

The ruins were also plentiful, though inaccessible and only viewable from a distance.

Our tour guide started off strong, but deteriorated to personal stories for the last 2-3 hours, forcing us to interrupt just to ask questions about what we were seeing. At times she seemed annoyed that we were asking.

We also developed some strong opinions about the town of Chinle, AZ. It is the reservation town closest to the canyon and launching point for tours. Julie and I both wonder about the value of these large reservations. Our take: high poverty and a slow drift further and further behind the USA in technology and infrastructure. How is this good in the long term for the children born into this situation? Maybe it is time to revisit this model.