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IMAGES OF ARIZONA

March 2, 2011

 

Music: Navajo "Hoop Dance"

 

•  Mummy Caves (Ledge Ruin Overlook)

•  Antelope House Overlook

•  Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

•  Painted Desert

•  Agate Bridge & the Petrified Forest

•  Next page

•  Home

 

The Canyon de Chelly National Monument is actually three canyons: Canyon de Chelly, Canyon del Muerto and Monument Canyon - 83,840 acres of sheer rock walls and canyons with 138 major ruins of three early civilizations. The canyons were formed by streams that rushed out of the Chuska and Lukachuckai mountains toward the San Juan River. The combination of steep, easily defended canyons and enough suitable soil on the canyon floors for agriculture attracted Indian tribes for at least 1600 years.

 

 

We started the day exploring the north rim of Cañon de Chelly. The north rim overlooks Cañon del Muerto.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

The broken rock outlined a path we were to stay on. The edge was crumbling and dangerous.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

My brother, of course, ignored the path to the distress of his wife. I couldn't watch him, either; just pointed the camera in his direction and walked on. The sheer drop literally took my breath away because it was 600 feet straight down. Even the guard rail at the Lodge Ruin Overlook seemed too frail.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

I can't imagine anyone taking children here. The sign on the left is titled "People of the Great Planted Fields".

 

The bottom of the canyon is still farmed.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

 

Sheer sandstone walls tower 600 feet and more above the 130-square-mile canyon. This is the only canyon where the height made me feel breathless and I had to approach the railing cautiously and hang on while I looked down. One of the Navajo artists told us about a young man who, a few years ago, was close to the edge taking pictures when a gust a wind blew him over the edge to his death. Fortunately, I didn't know that while I was looking and taking pictures myself. It is a long way straight down in most places.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

On toward Antelope House Ruins

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Color and texture everywhere you look.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Antelope House Ruins (on right)

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Antelope House Ruins

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Antelope House Overlook

Here we hiked for one quarter of a mile over the rugged rimrock. The Antelope House ruin takes its name from the antelope paintings believed to date back to the 1830s on a nearby cliff wall. Beneath the ruins of Antelope House, archaeologists have found the remains of an earlier pit house dating from AD 693. Although most of the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings were abandoned sometime after a drought began in 1276, Antelope House had already been abandoned by 1260, possible because of damage caused by flooding. Across the wash from Antelope House, an ancient tomb known as the Tomb of the Weaver, was discovered by archaeologists in the 1920s. The tomb contained the well-preserved body of an old man wrapped in a blanket of golden eagle feathers and accompanied by cornmeal, shelled and husked corn, pine nuts, beans, salt and thick skeins of cotton. Also visible from this overlook is Navajo Fortress, a red-sandstone butte that the Navajo once used as a refuge from attackers. (Frommer's Arizona, 2009)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

The antelope artwork was added to the cliffs sometime around the 1830's by a Navaho artist named Little Lamb. The other art found here is much older and was left by the Anasazi people. (tour guide) The Swastika shown in this photo is actually an ancient native American symbol which could mean four seasons, four directions or an indicator of migrations. The swastika was an ancient symbol for good luck. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient India as well as Classical Antiquity. It remains widely used in Indian Religions, specifically in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. It was also widely used by many southwestern tribes, most notably the Navajo. Among various tribes, the swastika carried different meanings. To the Hopi it represented the wandering Hopi clan; to the Navajo it was one symbol for a whirling log (tsil no'oli'), a sacred image representing a legend that was used in healing rituals. After learning of the Nazi association, the Navajo discontinued use of the symbol.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

A closer view of the sandstone.

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

I didn't get all of the sign in my photo because the light was reflecting off my viewfinder and, for most of my pictures, I had to guess'n'shoot and hope for the best. Part of the sign reads:

 

"The Navajo call this site Jádí Dayíjeehí - Running Antelope - because of the painting of antelope on the cliff face just to the left of the ruins. These elegant paintings are believed to be the work of the Navajo artist Dibe Yashi - Little Sheep - who lived in the canyon in the 1930s."

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Antelope House Ruins

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

Lathan Yellowman's craft

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of the Cañon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Venson K. Yazzie of the famous Navajo family of artists and artisans. I wonder if he was related to the artist of Antelope House, Dibe Yashi - Little Sheep.

I videoed (58.8 MB) his description of the meaning of his art. He was covered with tattooed Navajo art himself.

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

Venson Yazzie is explaining on video the meaning of the paintings on his rock.

(Drake photo)

 

Yazzie's White House in Between and the real thing.

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

Another artist displays her work.

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Ledge Ruin Overlook (Mummy Caves)

On the opposite wall, about 100 feet up from the canyon floor, you can see the Ledge Ruin. This site was occupied by the Ancestral Puebloans between 1050 - and 1275.

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

House Under the Rock

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

"House Under the Rock: Discovery of two well-preserved mummies led members of an 1880 archaeological expedition to call this site Mummy Cave. The traditional Navajo name for this impressive setting is Tséyaa Kini - House Under the Rock. Anasazi lived here for nearly a thousand years - perhaps the longest occupied Anasazi site in the canyon. The large rooms and masonry of the central tower area are Mesa Verde in style and contrast with the coarser construction in the smaller rooms at either side. This dramatic evidence suggests that people from the Mesa Verde area may have moved into Canyon de Chelly sometime around AD 1280."

 

Mummy Caves, North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Mummy Caves, North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Mummy Caves, North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Mummy Caves, North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Mummy Caves, North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Mummy Caves, North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Mummy Caves, North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

Up the canyon, right of the Mummy Caves

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

(Drake photo)

 

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

Guided by Ken, who left his display of rock art, we found more ruins plus the pictographs that marked the place where the mummies were found.

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly, pictographs by Mummy Caves

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly, another pictograph

(Drake photo)

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

Mummy Caves

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

Ken told us that this is the type of sagebrush they use for tea.

 

North Rim of Canyon de Chelly

After Ken helped us find the pictographs, my brother bought some of his art.

(Drake photo)

 

 

Petrified Forest National Park

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock

(Drake photo)

 

 

"Finding Fossils: consistently locating fossils requires special knowledge of geology and palaeontology - and a bit of luck! But bringing home the find may present the biggest challenge to researchers. Fossils usually lie in remote areas far from museums, universities, and roads. Their large size makes them particularly heavy, and the fragility brought on by their great age requires that they be handled with extreme care. Researchers frequently discover fossils by finding a fragment of bone protruding from a cliff or bank. After removing the covering earth - first with picks and shovels, and then more carefully with dental tools and brushes - scientists may harden the fossil bones with a chemical solution. A complete covering of burlap and plaster bandages protects the fossil from damage during shipment to the laboratory. Detailed drawings, photographs, and documentation accompany each step of the operation to help reconstruct the fossil for study and exhibition."

 

 

"Painted Desert" The colorful mesas, buttes and badlands before you compose a natural work of art - the Painted Desert. Wind and running water cut these features from the Chinle Formation deposited over 200 million years ago when this area was a vast inland basin near sea level. The colors are due to ancient environmental conditions in which the sediments were originally deposited as well as the type of minerals present in the rocks. Besides being colorful, the Chinle Formation contains a valuable fossil record of Late Triassic plants and animals ranging from ferns and shellfish to amphibians and dinosaurs. Members of the scientific community from all over the world come here to study these fossils."

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

The Painted Desert stretches over 200 miles across northern Arizona and includes the Petrified Forest National Park.

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

The Colorado Plateau includes portions of the high Great Basin Desert, known in Arizona as the Painted Desert. Although it was beautiful to look at, when I stood looking at it I felt as I do when I'm looking at a burned-out house - something that was there is gone.

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

"Newspaper Rock: More than 650 images adorn the boulders below - one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in the park. People who farmed the Puerco River Valley 650 to 2,000 years ago pecked these petroglyphs onto the rocks, leaving a legacy etched in stone. When the rocks are exposed to the elements, a patina called "desert varnish" forms on the surface. Native people used sharp tools to chip into this veneer of iron and manganese oxides, clay minerals and organic material, revealing the lighter colored rock beneath. The various shades of desert varnish are due to the amounts and ration of minerals present. Blacker shades tend to be higher in manganese oxides, while redder tones indicate a higher amount of iron oxides. The great variety of petroglyphs on Newspaper Rock includes anthropomorphs (human-like figures), zoomorphs (animal-like figures), katsinas (spiritual figures), hands and tracks, and geometrics. Spotting scopes are provided to help you examine the petroglyphs below this overlook."

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Newspaper Rock Petroglyphs

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Painted Desert

(Drake photo)

 

 

"Agate Bridge: Centuries of scouring floodwaters washed out the arroyo, or gully, beneath this 110-foot (34 meter) petrified log to form Agate Bridge. The stone log, harder than the sandstone around it, resisted erosion and remained suspended as the softer rock beneath it washed away. Enthusiastic visitors fascinated by Agate bridge worked to preserve it through the establishment of Petrified Forest National Monument in 1906. Conservationists felt this ages-old natural bridge needed architectural support and in 1911 erected masonry pillars beneath the lg. In 1917 the present concrete span replaced the masonry work. Current National Park Service philosophy allows the natural forces that create unusual features to continue. If discovered today, Agate Bridge would be left in its natural state. Eventually the natural forces that created Agate Bridge will cause it to fall with or without its supports. For your safety, and to help preserve the petrified log, please stay off the bridge."

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Agate Bridge

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Agate Bridge

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Agate Bridge

 

Petrified Forest National Park

 

Petrified Forest National Park

We drove the 28-mile long road through the park and discovered Crystal Forest where we got out and walked.

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

"The Crystal Forest: Step into the Crystal Forest and enter a mysterious world of ancient trees turned to stone. The brilliantly colored remnants of an earlier geologic age invite you to visualize a changing world. Thoughtless visitors have removed most of the crystals that gave Crystal Forest its name. Please save what's left for future visitors and report any theft or vandalism to park staff."

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

(Drake photo)

 

"From Wood to Stone: Approximately 225 million years ago, during the Triassic Period, a floodplain existed here - littered with fallen trees. Periodic flooding buried the logs beneath layers of silt. Over time, silica-laden waters filtered through these deposits and petrified the wood by encasing the trees' organic material with minerals. Iron oxides give petrified wood its distinctive red, yellow, and orange hues; manganese oxides produce blues, purples and deep blacks, while the original carbon produces the shades of gray. Centuries of erosion washed away concealing sediment deposits to expose these remnants of Triassic woodlands. Could today's woodlands become petrified forests of tomorrow? Geologic forces similar to those of the Triassic period still shape the Earth's surface and may create the preliminary conditions for  future petrifaction. The processes that created petrified wood here ceased millions of years ago. Petrified wood and other fossils are irreplaceable resources to be cherished undisturbed."

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

Petrified Forest National Park - Crystal Forest

(Drake photo)

 

 

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