We couldn’t resist going to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest NP, we were right there, relatively.
Hubbell Trading Post on the way to Canyon De Chelly. We don’t seem able to stop the exploration we started on the Grand Circle Tour!!!
On the way out to Canyon de Chelly (canyon day shay), we stopped at the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. This is an excellent site full of information Hubbell Trading Post – history. We toured the house (free) with a guide whose family had come to this Trading Post. She talked about how John Hubbell would give folks flour, sugar and salt to help them get through the winters. the Hubbell were canny traders though and the house stands as testament to the incredible artworks of the Navajo (Diné) Peoples.
Today Hubbell Trading Post continues the traditional trading and is one of the premier spots to shop if one is looking for authentic Diné weavings; whether old or contemporary. While we were there I was paging through a pile of larger weavings and found a lovely large piece dyed using cochineal – strands colored from pale pink to rich rose and near maroon moved randomly through the weaving. I could see the hands of more than one woman, perhaps a grandmother and granddaughter? It was sold to a woman who visibly paled when I pulled it out of the pile… she wanted that weaving badly. Lucky for her, we were living in the RV… no space at all, none at all.
So what’s next? How did you guess? More pictographs and petroglyphs!
Canyon De Chelly! This is Navajo land so the only way inside the canyon is with a guide. We duly hired a guide, a grandfather who grew up in Canyon De Chelly and who was happy to take us to his grandparents fields. In the summer The People move from the high canyon rim down into the canyon for summer farming, animal raising and to escape the heat. Canyon de Chelly is relatively narrow and as the sun moves across the sky, shadows fall and cool the canyon. Our guide talked us through Diné history as told through the generations.
He told of how all tribes were created from the Navajo and choices between a White and a Black egg caused the People to diverge. The one that chose the Dark egg became the Apaché and other tribes who were nomadic horse warriors. The one that chose the Light egg became Navajo and other tribes who were linked to the land and farmed.
This last photo is behind the little tienda we rode to for bathroom, coffee and stretching. We just walked back to these ruins. The little 4-WD SUV we drove up the canyon in did a fine job through the riverbed that forms the ‘road’. Luckily, it didn’t rain while we were in the canyon.
From inside the canyon, the next day we toured the two rim roads for the nearly birds eye views.
Canyon de Chelly is off the beaten track. Both of us highly recommend the trip. The drive is beautiful, the canyon is amazing.
This is the last set of rock art you’ll have to see! Barb and I were so entranced by the art we had seen over these two months that we almost couldn’t stop! This time, we went to Zuni Pueblo and hired another guide at the Zuni Visitors Center. Kenny Bowkaty (lead guide) took us out to an undisclosed location to hike back to an ancient Pueblo. Likely Zuni in origin, the pueblo spread like a C around a the rock mound pictured below.
Led up the mound to the rock art that floats on the inside of the C, we climbed and listened. Out guide is an archaeology instructor at the Univ. New Mexico so he had a lot to teach. We learned how the people organized and built and that they had disappeared, probably to follow trade routes to better water. Some of the art was created in 1935, but most is ancient.
We learned the Zuni creation myth and that all other tribes came from the Zuni Peoples. Sometime I would like to take a course to learn more about the peoples of the southwest. There are many myths / legends and I’d love to study the patterns they share. Stay tuned, you’ll hear it first!
From here, we head to Tucson for the RVing Women Conference where Barb teaches Basic and Advanced RV Maintenance and we managed to erect and staff the Adventure Caravan’s Booth – sharing our adventures.
Breathe in the ancients, breathe out the stress, time passes.