Monday, July 6, 2015

White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona


This photo was the view at the top of the canyon near the trail leading to the White House Ruins. I had no idea if the ruins were cliff dwellings or not, since I have been seeing quite a few cliff dwellings in this area. I was surprised when the trail took me to the floor of this canyon. The trail was well marked and zigzagged down the canyon walls, sometimes dirt, sometimes rock and sometimes steps.

When I reached the canyon floor, the trail continued before I reached the actual dwellings. A good portion of the ruins are actually on the ground, but there is an upper level that was built in a natural cave high above the other dwellings on the floor. The ruins are all fenced in, so photos were limited. There were petroglyphs that were quite large, easily seen in the photo below, to the left of the center, not too far from the cave dwellings. Others were visible also.


I went on the hike early in the morning, but by the time I was ready to start back up, it had gotten hotter, even though it was before 9 AM. With the sun beating down, the rock walls retain heat and lack of air flow makes it seem hotter. There were still people headed down while I was coming up and I mentioned to one woman that the high elevation was the worst part. She agreed and told me she had been here 6 months and it still bothers her. So much for the adjustment within a couple days! When I went to the visitor center later in the day, I noticed a sign about the hikes - this one was rated "moderately strenuous". I think I'll start the next hike at 6 AM when it's cooler!

The nicest part of the trail were a couple short tunnels, instead of making us climb up a large rock formation. It was nice and cool inside, and I was thinking a few benches would be an improvement! The next photo shows the top of the canyon, from part-way up the trail.

I was happy to get back in my truck and turn the AC on. Tomorrow, I'm starting out earlier - guess I should set an alarm.


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