Sunday, September 14, 2014

Glass and Bones of Canyon de Chelly

You could ride into the Canyon if your brakes fail - ha ha
I made a quick ride down to the first Pull-out of the Park, Gentle Readers of This Blog.  Mornings are now cold - at times in the high 30s and low 40s.  But as the soon as the Sun comes up over the mountains, things warm steadily.   Since I got a much later start, I thought just a quick spin down to Mummy Cave would be perfect.  The Titanium LeMond Arrive has sat idle for a few weeks - I've intended to take her out after work - but it's been too rainy.

So while I had a few cups of coffee and a bit of breakfast, I let the Sun start up the Day.

Needed long-sleeves this morning
Still cool, I wore my old long-sleeve yellow jersey.  All my Navajo friends and co-workers are harvesting their corn fields this weekend.  Yellow would be an appropriate color for today.  Thing was that all the flowers and bushes and growing things were in bright yellow bloom too - so as I rode I felt like was blending right in with the Day!

I sped right into the parking lot of the Mummy Cave Pull-out - I brought money because I wanted to buy a necklace for Little Egypt from one of the Navajo guys I see and talk to who sells jewelry on the sidewalk.  No one was there - I think that means tourist season is over?

Very quite and serene.  The air is clean and the sky brilliant - I walked out to the very edge.  Probably about a mile to the other side, and easily 600 to 900 feet down.  Sitting quietly I hear the echos of ravens, and sometimes a whirl of wind.  Below where I'm sitting on the edge is Mummy Cave.  I'm not sure when, but when early tourist were here (over 100 years ago) and looters, they found people buried in the ruins - the Anasazi or Ancient Ones.

Further south from here, and about a mile away in this same Pull-out is Massacre Cave.  Spanish soldiers were chasing some Navajo circa 1800, and a group of women and children were hiding in a cave on the cliff.  The Spanish couldn't get to them but they did fire at them for several hours at the cave's entrance - bullets ricocheted into the cave from off the wall and that killed most of the people.  Their bones are still in there according to the people (who do not disturb the cave) and mentioned in a book I read about the rock art written by Campbell Grant in the 1970s.

Click to see bigger image
 Some tourists did arrive as I was walking out of the trees from the edge with my bike.  For a second they looked puzzled - did I ride up from the bottom of the Canyon or something?  No way?  I told them I was enjoying a quiet spot, and riding back home.

There is a nice lookout that you can walk around on with a railing.  I would not venture too close the edge because the rocks can be loose and a fall would be fatal.  Still I see tourists, mainly European, with their little kids, sitting on the edge of the Canyon with their feet hanging over.

Glass and Bones
It had been only last week that this pony was hit by the car - now mostly the pony is skeleton covered by hide and white ribs showing.  Glass and bits of plastic still litter the road.  Navajo Police most likely dragged the pony over into the ditch.
Pony Fast Bike
Riding home, the wind came up and I had a fragrant tailwind of cool canyon rain and pinion trees.  It seemed like a large grey rain cloud followed me up the road to see where I was going - it keep me cool as I climbed.

Dave Glasgow, Tucson, Arizona
I had a photo of Dave on my phone from my Labor Day visit.  I had tried for several months to reach Dave with calls, and I even sent him a few postcards.  Finally I got some information from my friend John.  Dave had had a spill in Saguaro National Park - a serious bike crash - and was slowly recovering from a broken leg, broken ribs, and a head injury.

Dave was able to meet John and I for an evening meal, which really cheered him up.  We insisted he eat - he looked very thin - and the owner of the restaurant, the Indian Oven, who was a friend of Dave's brought more and more and Dave got his appetite and ate hardily.

John had told me that he had seen Dave a few weeks before, and he looked in really bad shape.  I called and left messages for Dave, letting him know I was driving down to Tucson.  He did leave me a message while I was pumping some gas on my drive down, and told me he got my messages - that he'd been injured - and that it was very hard for him to reach his phone.

Anyway, it was good to see him and although he's older, he's still a force of energy and enthusiasm.

Okay, thanks for stopping by the blog!

Cheers!  Bruce

1 comment:

Dan Trued said...

Bruce, where did you get the LeMond, great pic with the canyon there. Sorry to hear about Dave, haven't seen him at Saguaro East, so now I know why. Been riding in Mexico, some rides are not possible because of dogs though.