Flute music echoed in the chilly morning air.
Howard strolled by with coffee in hand saying “good morning” to all of the campers.
I served up a bland breakfast of eggs and toast.
From the campground, we hiked three miles roundtrip to the canyon ridge where we could appreciate Ledge ruin.
Once on the trail, I stopped to gawk over the edge and looked down at my shoes where a piece of decorated pottery laid.
Howard later informed me that it was thousands of years old like it was no big deal. To me it was huge.
We presented the piece of pottery to the group of hikers in front of us. They were from Delaware traveling northern Arizona in an extravagant RV.
I have to admit, I was kind of jealous when I saw them the night before cutting T-bone steaks the night before with real steak knives instead of the plastic cutlery I packed.
As we walked around the rim (some closer than others), Ledge ruin displayed in an arch and 100 feet about the canyon floor, was occupied by the Ancestral Puebloans between 1050 and 1275A.D. Toeholds carved into the vertical walls is how the ruin was reached long ago.
It was hard to believe anyone could live in something that was positioned high up upon a sheer rock wall without the fear of falling to their demise.
After the hike we packed up our gear and drove to Tsegi Overlook. Tsegi meaning rock canyon in Navajo.
The river flowed through the center for of the canyon as it carved a path through the green trees below. It was snow melt on a mission. The natives view the river as sacred to feed their crops.
Junction Overlook got its name because it overlooks the junction of Canyon del Muerto and Canyon de Chelly. Ten rooms and a kiva make up Junction Ruin where Ancestral Puebloans occupied the ruin during the Great Pueblo Period, which lasted from around 1100 until 1299 A.D.
First Ruin is perched daringly on a long narrow ledge appearing like rotting teeth peering out of a peek-a-boo smile. There are 22 rooms and two kivas in the ruin.
Peering down from Sliding House Overlook 700 feet above the canyon floor, ruins built on a narrow shelf appear to be sliding down into the canyon. Sliding House ruins were occupied from 900 until 1200 A.D and contained between 30 and 50 rooms.
We missed viewing the actual ruins because we were on foot.
Spider Rock Overlook takes the cake when it comes to spectacular views of Canyon de Chelly. The two erect towers are 800 feet of magnificent, natural skyscrapers with a killer backdrop are christened Spider Rock. Across from Spider Rock is almost a mirror image of another rock known as Speaking Rock.
After the exploration of Canyon de Chelly, I never knew there could be so much greatness in one place.
The canyon blew away any expectations I may have had. Dare I say, it’s more beautiful than the Grand Canyon?
On the way home we thankfully would take a wrong turn and end up at Window Rock.