Monday, October 12, 2009

Hike to Keet Seel

As we drove through Tuba City I had a sudden thought. Unlike the rest of Arizona, the Navajo Reservation is on daylight savings time. This would cause us to be 30 minutes late for the 4 PM orientation required to get the permit. We would have to wait until 8:15 AM the next morning which would give us a later start than planned.

We arrived at the visitor center and Pat, a (Hopi?) ranger working behind the counter, said "Let's go over here. I can do the orientation now". Rather than showing us a packaged video used with groups he gave us a map, opened a photo album and gave us personal instruction on the route, the necessary regulations, water requirements and warnings about quicksand. He was soft spoken, pleasant, just a nice guy. A hiccup in our plans turned into a good experience.

As we left the trail head we had near perfect weather: blue skies with few clouds, cool to slightly warm temperatures, and a slight breeze. Perfect weather for hiking in a desert.

Below are a few photos of the hike. Tomorrow I'll have photos of the ruins at Keet Seel.

At the beginning of the hike.I set the camera on the ground and took this photo about a mile and a half into the trip as we descended into the canyon. (Larger version)

View of the canyon.
Our destination is about six miles up a side canyon beyond the stream. (Larger version)

Walking in the stream.
We crossed the stream many times and in some areas had to walk in the stream. (Larger version)

35 feet high water fall.
This water fall is 35 feet high. Above it are two smaller falls. The way around the falls is to the right. (Larger version)

Taking a break.
We took a break before the climb around the falls. Notice the stuff on the ground between my feet and above Julie's head. Cattle graze the canyon. (Larger version)

The trail to bypass the falls.
Julie climbing the trail around the falls. (Larger version)

Breakfast above the falls.
We left early on our trip out and stopped above the falls to have breakfast about the time the sun illuminated the area. Julie warmed her feet in the sun. A few minutes after this photo we were back in the cold water in the stream below the falls. (Larger version)

Photo of Paul.
As we hiked out I turned and faced east to look at the scenery. Julie asked for the camera and instructed me to face east again. (Larger version)

The final climb.
Julie nearing the top of the climb out of the canyon. This was a fairly easy section. The steep sandy sections near the stream were more difficult. (Larger version)


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