On our last full day at Canyon De Chelly we decided to view the Canyon from the bottom up! So we bought tickets for the full day jeep tour,(6.5 hours and a lunch). It was money well spent!
We loaded up at the Thunderbird Lodge. Both of us were concerned about the cold so we wore multiple layers of clothing. We were fine. We were even warm when the jeep plunged into the river.
The first part of the tour was up Canyon De Muerto to Mummy Cave Ruins. The jeep trail went in and out of the river, if you could call it a trail. We passed a stuck truck, it was getting pulled out, and at one point we even got stuck, (I was glad I didn't drive our truck but our son Matt would have loved it with his).
As we drove and stopped, the guide told us that there were over 600 ruins, identified in the two canyons. He also explained the many pictographs and petroglyphs. They belonged to three different periods. It was a real learning experience.
At one stop Navajo girls waded out into the river to offer us necklaces that they had made. The people are so poor that everywhere you go you encounter blankets covered with jewelry and stone art. We were eve able to buy freshly made Navajo Fry Bread. We watched as the Navajo Women fired the bread dough in hot grease and then covered it with cinnamon and sugar. Lunch was at the Mummy Cave Ruins. The guide explained that the mummies were unusual in that the average height of the people was about five feet and that one of the mummies found here was six foot tall. At one of the stops we could see the handholds and fotholds used to climb the cliffs. We loaded back up and headed back down the canyon stopping once to stretch and view more pictographs.
At Junction, we turned and headed up Canyon De Chelly. We passed more ruins and continued up to White House Ruins. That was the place we had hiked down the day before. Luckily the merchants were still there and we were able to buy much needed jewelry and stone art.
The drive back to the lodge was all too short. However our senses were overloaded and it was time to get back home and pack the house for the trip to Mesa Verde. Clear skies.