Inside the Canyon

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
Trip End Oct 26, 2010

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Where I stayed
Best Western

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Monday, October 11, 2010

We were up early, excited for our trip into the canyon. Oscar arrived at the appointed hour and apparently had overbooked so was trying to find an additional guide for another couple. He assured us no problems and we were soon on our way, we can only assume everything worked out for the other couple.

He gave us an overview of the canyon and history as he had learned it from his grandfather.  Oscar's parents lived in the city and at the age of three he was taken to visit his grandparents who still lived in Canyon de Chelly. It was love at first sight.  His parents allowed him to stay in the canyon with his grandparents for the summer with the caveat that they would come and get him if he got homesick.  He never did and he remained in the canyon and was raised by his grandparents.  The love for this canyon is as strong today as it was in the small boy.  He still gets joy driving into the canyon and just walking sometimes with his camera.

 He showed us the ancient ruins, petroglyphs and explained the different symbols, told us stories and shared anecdotes.  One incredible wall held Anasazi, Hopi and Navajo drawings side by side.  There are still families living and farming in the canyon, many of them move up to the rim in the winter as temperatures can be well below zero on the canyon floor.  Horses roam freely.


We were driving on what in the springtime is actually a river bed, in fact, he shared that one of his jeeps is currently being rebuilt, a victim of quicksand this past spring.  There were other jeeps touring the canyon but the drivers stay well apart so each small group is given time and space in this awe inspiring landscape. 

Canyon de Chelly is unique among the National Park system; it is comprised entirely of Navajo Tribal Trust Land that remains home to the canyon community. NPS works in partnership with the Navajo Nation to manage park resources and sustain the living Navajo community. We asked Oscar about this partnership and his response was that "it's working".

If you visit this canyon it is very worthwhile to take a jeep tour and Oscar was wonderful.  He is a good steward of his land and of his culture and is happy to share his knowledge.
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