Canyon de Chelly
Day One Hundred and Forty Eight Part II. And the second half of Day 5 of our Epic Cross Country Road Trip! This was an ... interesting ... stop. It was by far the least comfortable place I've ever been. To say that the locals did not want us there would be more than just a little bit of an understatement. Due to the economic conditions of the Navajo Nation, the air of desperation palpable. The largest building there is the juvenile detention center. We made the mistake of talking to one of the art vendors (of which there is at least one at every single stopping point in the park, so they're almost literally impossible to avoid). He was an unemployed single parent with zero hope of ever getting a job, simply because there aren't any for him to get. We didn't have any cash to pay him and he would have had to leave to pick up his son from school before we would make it to an ATM and back. I felt bad then and I feel bad remembering it now. All of the stress in the area made it difficult to concentrate on why I was there in the first place, which, compounded with the ridiculously high contrast lighting sunset was making out of the canyon, made for a lot of deleted pictures. The lack of cloud cover made the harsh light of sunset even worse. And, while this is a National Monument, thus owned by the US government, it is not public land. It is their land. You are not allowed down into the canyon without a local escort. You can expect to pay a minimum of $150 for the tour, which, in retrospect, we absolutely should have done, even though it wasn't even close to being in the budget. The views from the canyon walls, while impressive, simply can not measure up to the view of the ruins from ground level. I doubt I'll be making my way back here again any time soon.