Canyon de Chelly | Teen Ink

Canyon de Chelly MAG

By Anonymous

   My parents and I explored the United States for two months, which was quite anexperience since I've lived in a small fishing town most of my life. I love theocean, but the mountains, desert and endless skies of the Southwest left mespeechless. The air was so clean my lungs tingled; everything seemedpure.

The most wonderful experience I had was at Arizona's Canyon deChelly, a series of deep red rock canyons sacred to the Navajo. We arrived at thereservation on a gray afternoon that felt like rain. The breeze was light and,although it was cold, we got out of the car to look at the view. As we stepped tothe railing, it began to mist. We could easily see the bottom; it was not allrock like the Grand Canyon but had grass, trees and red mud. Hundreds of feetbelow a dirt road led to cliff ruins of the Anasazi, the ancestral Pueblo-ans. Itwas beautiful! I felt like I was in a dream. The mist dampened my hair; ittouched my face and I felt like I was being covered in fairy dust. I saw a trailleading to the floor of the canyon and begged to go, but my mom said we couldn'tbecause my dad wasn't wearing hiking boots and might get hurt.

Contentwith her answer, I drank in the scene. When I turned to say something to my dad,he was gone! I rushed to the edge, but thank goodness he hadn't gone over. I wasrunning back to the car when I saw him heading down the trail. I grabbed a bottleof water for the long walk.

The trail wound down the canyon like asnake; I was practically running over the massive, creased rocks. Suddenly thesky opened and it started pouring. Within moments, my hair was matted to my headand water was streaming down my face, over my eyelids and into my mouth. Ittasted sweet. I put my hands in the air and spun. After the next bend, the pathwent right through the cliff, creating a little cave. It leaked a little, butmost of it was dry and warm. I sat at the entrance and watched the rain. It fellso heavily it created waterfalls that gushed down the canyon. The tourists seemedto disappear and we were alone.

We continued until we reached a part ofthe trail that had been transformed from firmly packed earth into creamy red mud.My mom and I tried to skate down, but my dad thought he could jump from one bitof grass to another. When he landed on the first patch, it gave way.

Heflailed his arms, smashed into the mud headfirst, slid down the trail on hisstomach and, when he finally slowed, lay covered in red clay. My mom and Iscreamed, asking if he was all right. After we discovered only his pride had beenhurt, we burst into hysterics, pulled out the camera and took pictures of our mudmonster.

Finally, we came to the bottom of the canyon. We walked throughtrees and bushes, still sliding in the mud, then came to a small bridge thatcrossed a rising stream. We prayed it wouldn't collapse as we crossed.

Iran ahead to one of the waterfalls very close to the ruins. Under the fall, someNavajo were selling handmade jewelry. They had a fire and invited me to warm up.I step-ped close to the fire, and my frozen clothes started to steam. I told themhow my dad had fallen and they wanted to see him. My parents came over andstarted telling them about our trip while I browsed their tables of jewelry. Ifound a necklace with a blue turtle, which a Navajo woman told me stood for longlife and peace. I loved it so much my mom offered to buy it for me.

Afterwarming up, we thanked our new friends and started back up. It was colder, butstill magical. When we came to the stream, the water was almost to the bridge. Ifwe had waited much longer, we would have had to wade across. We climbed until wecould no longer see the end of the waterfall, our friends or the ruins. As wecame to the cave, it started to snow; everywhere we looked was white. We couldonly hear the crash of waterfalls around us. We sat in the cave and pondered allwe had experienced before continuing to our car. Our adventure is a wonderfulmemory.

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