The Trail Down
Navajo Natl. Monument is a cliff dwelling on the other side of the canyon. During the roasting hot sun of the Arizona desert, the village is in the shade of the cliff overhang. Looking out across the valley, the dwellings can be seen among the trees that have just budded out for spring. The water trickles out of the springs, keeping the bottom green and lush, an oasis for the desert.
The sign said there would be a ranger guided tour at 9:00 am. So returning the next morning at 8:30, it was anticipation I waited for the ranger. It was a beautiful view looking down the valley at the green trees and shrubs on the bottom. The ranger arrived, presented a short spiel on the people that used to dwell in the ruins. The group then began the trek down the trail, following and listening to the ranger. He pointed the different flora and fauna and explained how the vegetation zone changed as we descended.
We reached the bottom and across the valley we walked to climb up into the ruins. A few of the rooms had been restored to give an appearance of what the building would have looked like more than a 1000years ago.
Out of the cool dampness we walked up the other side using the steps that had been carved out centuries ago. Ladders poked out of as hole in the roof, this was the entry. Across the narrow stone ledge we walked among the crumbling stone walls. All the time the ranger pointing out the different features and talking about how they lived years ago.
Walking among the rocks and taking pictures, it was time to walk back up the cliff side. Looking up I could see people strung out along the path going uphill. I gave it a long hard look, it was 1400 steps down, plus. So it was 1400 steps back up plus.
Upward I began my journey, stopping along the route to take pictures, well that was my excuse for pausing in the shade of the small overhang. It had been a half hour trek down the hill, the uphill battle was now approaching an hours on the trail. Legs were talking to me, breath was gasping, water was declining in the canteen. There it was the rim of the canyon, just a few more feet up. I sat on one of the benches and looked back across where I had been.