On our way out of Arizona, we stopped in for a night at Canyon de Chelly (pronounced de Shay). We made it just in time to catch the sunset over the canyon.

Canyon de Chelly is a US National Park, although it falls within the Navajo Nation boundaries. Navajo people live and farm within the canyon and it’s surrounding area, and access to the floor of the canyon is restricted to those on an official tour, or on one specific trail.

I’ve seen this historic photo before, not knowing the landscape:

Photo by E.S. Curtis (1904), from Library of Congress via Wikipedia

We chose to tour the canyon by motorcycle, climbing up from the park entrance to the rim, stopping along the many viewpoints.  The crops are a bit clearer in this picture – canyons at sunset can be very shadowy! We sped by this herd of sheep, and I made Cory turn the bike around to grab some photos. Because how often do you get to see a herd of sheep atop a canyon at sunset?  Not often enough is the correct answer. Not often enough.  See that cute sheepdog, innocently watching his flock? Well, he and another large dog barreled straight at me as soon as I stepped off the motorcycle. We got the bike turned around and I hopped back on just as they reached us – I seriously thought I might lose a foot! 

 Along with families still living within the canyon, Canyon de Chelly also has several ruins.    The most well-known feature of the park is Spider Rock, which rises 750 feet high. According to Wikipedia, it is the scene of several commercials.

We came across a few other tourists taking in the view, and one guy started chatting Cory up about the motorcycle. We  mentioned that we didn’t realize how cold it would be up along the rim – we had bundled up everything but our hands! After returning to the bike, we found a pair of gloves waiting for Cory. Of course, we tracked him down at the end to return them, but it was a great gesture!

One of the most amazing experiences happened on our drive back to the RV. Unfortunately, it was so quick we weren’t able to capture it.

As we were driving, with the sun slowly setting, four wild mustangs appeared out of nowhere! They charged across the road, so close to us that we had to swerve.  It was a sight I’ll remember forever, even without a picture.

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