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Road Trippin' to Canyon de Chelly

Here's my next installment regarding the ongoing adventures of Ranger Rich :-)  Went on a road trip to Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Tsai in Navaho....or shey in English).  Some spanish guy spelled it c-h-e-l-l-y ..... go figure.   On my way there I passed real close to one of our most famous landmarks ... Shiprock.

Shiprock is actually the core of a small volcano whose cinder cone has completely eroded away!  It is more than 1500 ft high, and can be seen easily from Mesa Verde on a clear day.  When viewed from the right angle it looks a lot like a sailing ship (hence the name).  Must be a rock climber's dream.

I arrived at Canyon de Chelly about mid-day on Saturday.  First order of business was to set up camp.  Here's home sweet home away from home ...

By the way I blame Anne and Sunni for getting me into this camping deal.  It got down to 38 deg Sunday morning about 2am and I discovered my sleeping bag was rated for 40 deg (i.e. I froze).  Here's a view from Sunday morning after I got a fire started (to thaw out) ...

Of course the main event was the Canyon itself.   There are a number of overlooks along both the North and South canyon rims.  Since Navajo families still live inside the canyon itself, you are not allowed to enter the canyon without a Navajo guide (something I did not do).  Here are a few pictures, many which show ancient anasazi (ancestral puebloan) ruins ...

 

 One of my favorite formations was Spider Rock (my campground was named after this one).  Here's a great shot of Spider Rock ..... very cool if you are actually here.

So the other huge reason I went on this trip was to view the total annular eclipse which occured on Sunday, May 20.  The max shadow passed directly over Canyon de Chelly!  Awesome!  Trouble is that it was an "annular" eclipse.  This means the moon only covered about 90% of the sun.  The remaining 10% was still pretty darn bright (and no sun filter for my point-and-shoot canon camera).  Well, here's the only picture I got ... it's hard to tell an eclipse is going on ...

At any rate it's probably the only annular eclipse I'll ever witness first hand .... and you'd had to be there to realize how totally cool it was.   I headed back to Mesa Verde just as soon as the show was over ..... got to bed around 11:30pm that night!   It was a long, but fun, day.

Until my next outing ..... be good boys and girls!    Ranger Rich

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