May, 2002 Navajo National Monument
/ Natural Bridges National Monument
This weeklong trip, right before Memorial Day Weekend, was to NNM and NBNM. As it happened, it was a really hot week but it was still a good trip. Here's the deal:
The hike: an overnight to visit the Keet Seel ruin. Considered the largest, best-preserved Anasazi cliff ruin in Arizona, rivalling the ones at Mesa Verde. Not a restoration! Only about 5% of the ruin has been repaired or stabilized for preservation, it is otherwise mostly as it was left by its inhabitants. NNM is on Navajo tribal land in northern AZ. The ruin is about 8 walking miles from the trailhead. As an overnight, if we start early we can avoid most of the worst afternoon heat but no useable water is found along the way so it's a 2-gallon water-haul starting out. That weight can be reduced by cacheing on the hike down.
On the trail: overlooking Laguna Creek from the rim. From here the canyon is only about 800 ft deep but since the trail is mostly deep sand, the haul back out is a bit of a chore
Keet Seel Canyon, at the 2nd waterfall. By the way this water was all pretty foul, I'm sad to say, because the tribe grazes cattle in here. For a single overnight, I would rather carry than ever try filtering it.
Our first look at the Keet Seel ruin, and it sure is big
Climb to the ruin is up this long ladder
In the ruin
Looking at ruin from opposite
Closer look at some walls
Lots of stuff like this everywhere in the ruin
A grinding hole still containing 800-year old corncobs!
More walls from inside
These pictographs have been identified by local Hopis as tribal clan symbols still in use
Closeup of wattle-and-daub wall construction
Leaving the Keet Seel ruin
Go to Natural
Bridges National Monument pictures