Ancient canyon, ancient trees and new natural disasters

May 27, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

Canyon de Chelly was our last stop within the Navajo reservation. It is truly a mysterious place that was inhabited by ancient pueblo indians some 800-900 years ago. These people built their dwellings on shelves in the cliffs, and farmed the land on the canyon floor. Canyon de Chelly National Park consists of two canyons - Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto, cut out of the surrounding desert land by two rivers.

Look closely at this photo and you can see the ladder in place down to these ruins. I'm not sure it's the original, though! These dwellings were almost at the top, so access to the canyon floor must have been tough.
 


The most famous of the ruins are the White House ruins.
 


Antelope House ruins:



Canyon critters:
 




The canyon itself it incredibly beautiful. The most characteristic feature is Spider Rock. The Navajos believe it is home to Spider Woman, who taught the Navajo to weave. We spent some time studying the light here, and although there was no sunset, the rock certainly works as a sundial.

Morning light:
 



Afternoon:
 



On the way to Flagstaff, we drove through the Petrified Forest National Park which also gives a good view of the the badlands of the Painted Desert. Colourful for photography, but not good for much else:
 




And finally, the petrified logs themselves.
 



And now, for something completely different. After the conference in Portland Oregon, we spent today trying to blow away the clouds surrounding Mount St. Helen's. No such luck, though.

Mount St. Helen's is a volcano that erupted on the 18th of May 1980, killing more than 50 people and devastating the valley below. The top of the mountain fell off leaving a giant crater in the middle. In the valley below, all the trees were knocked down from the landslide that followed.

Sadly the top of the crater was covered in clouds, so this was the best we got.
 




The critters are cuter, though!
 

 

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