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Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona

We stopped off at Canyon de Chelly on the road between the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest, and I am glad we did. Due to time pressures we had had to bypass Mesa Verde and so missed some of the rock dwellings.

I don't know how Mesa Verde compares to Canyon de Chelly, but I would certainly recommend this place to anyone who has a few hours to spare, or needs a place to take a break on the road.

We saw everything that we set out to see in around four hours but I am sure that a full day would have been just as rewarding.

It is possible to take an organised trip down into the valley and get fairly close to the dwellings, but looking through the binoculars from the canyon rim probably gave a better view anyway.

Certainly the ruins on the valley floor were fenced off and even the people on the "official" tour did not get inside the fence.

The dwellings up on the cliff face are really quite remarkable. In the bottom left picture you can just make out the valley floor dwellings and the ruins in the cliff face just above.

What you cannot see is that there are footsteps carved into the face of the cliff which lead all the way from the bottom to the top, passing a couple of other quite substantial ruins on the way up.

It really is worth the hour or two minimum that you will require here, just to see those steps and wonder, at what age they first let their children go up there!

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All images Copyright Avery Little