Saturday, October 27, 2007

Canyon de Chelly National Monument (I)

White House Ruins, Canyon de Chelly

We opted for an early start to explore the floor of the canyon. There are only two ways to do this: you either take a tour that includes a Jeep or a truck to get you in there or else hire a guide and use your own car (assuming it's got 4 WD and sufficient clearance). Since we'd rented the Jeep Liberty then we could use option (b).

The reason for the restrictions soon became clear: the canyon floor is nothing but sand, with feet of the stuff in places making it tricky to get through even with the thing in low-ratio, 4 wheel drive.

Perhaps the most iconic picture taken here was by Ansel Adams, an imposing shot of the White House Ruins. Since then, the ruins have been fenced off and stabilised but still prove to be an impressive sight.

My American history isn't that good, but this was also the location of the final battle between the Navajo and US troops (guided by Kit Carson) in 1864. Subsequently, the Navajo were forced to march several hundred miles east to Fort Sumner - the infamous Long Walk - and a great many of them died in the process.


Jay River said...

Silicon Valley:

I can direct you to some more history about CdC. This is part of The Indian Picture Opera, a 1911 lecture by photographer Edward S. Curtis. Curtis spent some time in CdC, and made many photos of it.
Link:Film Clip

Link:Indian Picture Opera, Amazon (dvd)

J said...

Thanks, Jay, much appreciated!