Canyon de Chelly National Monument
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My own personal Grand Canyon
You can have your "Grand" Canyon. You know what "Grand" is? Just the French word for "Big". Canyon de Chelly, on the other hand, has a soul. The name comes from the Navajo "Tséyiʼ" meaning 'inside the rock' and that's exactly where you can go. At the Grand Canyon, you can stand with hundreds of others at the safety fence and look into the big hole. At Chelly, you can walk down one of the traditional paths on bare rock down the canyon wall, and that's exactly what I did. It isn't easy, the path is sometimes as narrow as 8" swerving back and forth down the canyon wall. Mountain goats sneer while you carefully pick your way over a rare icy spot. At the bottom there are restrictions. You can't get close to the ancient sites, they're off limits, but the rest is wild and open. A tiny native woman sells jewelry at the canyon floor. Beautiful jewelry in silver and turquoise. Feeling macho after the canyon wall descent, I bought some for the 'little woman' back home. Of course all that macho faded immediately on the way back up the canyon wall. I was huffing and puffing when a Supermom jogged past me on the dangerous trail, carrying one child and pushing another in what looked like an all terrain pram made by Hummer. (Seriously, lady, you're making me look bad!) If you go, the canyon is run by the the Navajo Nation and you must be accompanied by a ranger or official guide outside the White House ruin area.
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