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The Raw, Rugged Grandeur Of ‘Canyon de Chelly’ — Bottom Of The ‘White House’ Ruin Trail.

by Anura Guruge


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In this series of posts I have been trying to share with you both the unsurpassed splendor and the history of this incredible Canyon in Arizona. I have done quite a few posts about the ‘White House’ ruins — the most famous of the Canyon de Chelly ruins — including a video on the hike down to it. This is a picture taken towards the end of the trail, close to the ruin.


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by Anura Guruge

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The Raw, Rugged Grandeur Of ‘Canyon de Chelly’ — Wild Horses By The ‘White House’ Ruin.

by Anura Guruge


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As I pointed out in yesterday’s post, horses, both tame and feral, are a feature of this tranquil and beautiful Canyon. We saw quite a few in our travels. These two were when we hiked down to the famous ‘White House’ ruin. The drought is taking a toll on the horses. You can tell from these pictures. We heard on the radio that upward of 400 had died of thirst!


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by Anura Guruge

Canyon de Chelly: The Legend Of The Upside Down ‘Kokopelli’.

by Anura Guruge


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Bigger picture of where the upside down Kokopelli is located.


Click to ENLARGE and read here. Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kokopelli


Canyon de Chelly’s upside down Kokopelli is a ‘pictograph‘ (i.e., painted as opposed to carved) within the valley, fairly close to the entrance to the Canyon. You can’t see it from any of the overlooks. You have to go into the Canyon, with an authorized Navajo guide, on horseback, by ‘jeep‘ or by foot. We did both, on consecutive days. Hence, the two pictures at top (with two different cameras). As such we also got to hear about the legend, from two separate Navajo guides, 24-hours apart. And we did 3-years ago. So, I have heard the legend multiple times.

This Kokopelli is pretty close to the entrance, way before you get to the First Ruin — or even the area below the first South Rim overlook, i.e., Tunnel Overlook.

The Kokopelli, indubitably, is a fertility spirit — with the fertility also extending to farming. This agricultural aspect is important in Canyon de Chelly since they try and farm in the Canyon as much as they. They could NOT in 2018 because, atypically, they did NOT get any snow and as such there was no snow melt in the Spring.

The Canyon de Chelly Navajo think of Kokopelli as a ‘womanizer‘ who seduces women with his flue — that being the connection with fertility.

That he is famously depicted upside down is said to do with his ‘womanizing’. I can relate to that. {Smile}

His hunchback is also said to relate to his ‘womanizing’! It is said to carry his extra ‘seed’. So, the ancient Navajo had much to learn about human anatomy.

Per some Canyon de Chelly Navajo folks would hear Kokopelli’s flute, in the Canyon, in early Spring. That was a good omen and they knew that the coming years would be good.

Now you start getting divergence in the legend.

One Navajo guide was adamant that his grandmother, who grew-up and lived on the Canyon floor, told me about 10-years ago, that ‘they’ stopped hearing the flute about ’40-years’ ago. “they’ think that that is not good. You could understand why.

Other Navajos disagree. They claim that Kokopelli is still around and all is good. Hhhhmmm!


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by Anura Guruge

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