Saturday, November 17, 2007

Eco-Adventures in Northern Arizona

Winter is an ideal time to visit Canyon de Chelly National Monument in northeastern Arizona.

Daytime temperatures typically range from 40 to 60 degrees, and at night they sometimes dip into the 20s, and while it does snow sometimes, it is rarely more than a few inches. There are no crowds, the air sparkles with brilliant sunshine, and the park's only hotel cuts its room rates in half.

The Thunderbird Lodge is built on the site of a 1896 trading post. Throuugh March 1, 2008, rooms are $69 for a double room, plus taxes, with a complimentary breakfast. And the gift shop still trades in some of the region’s finest examples of hand-crafted turquoise and silver Native American jewelry and colorful Navajo rugs.

Take a tour of the beautiful, mystical back-country in six-wheel drive touring vehicles operated by experienced and knowledgeable Navajo guides. You will learn about one of the most sacred, historic and culturally significant places in the Navajo Nation. The tour takes you to Anasazi ruins, pictographs and petroglyphs on the sides of cliffs, and sites where the Navajo fought to keep their independence from Spanish, Mexican and American governments.

Except for hiking the White House Ruin trail, travel in the canyons is allowed only with a park ranger or an authorized Navajo guide.

Canyon de Chelly is a beautiful spot, in any season.