Keet Seel

Backpack-Keet Seel Ruin-Navajo National Monument17 miles roundtrip Hike/ 10 hour roundtrip drive from PhoenixKeet Seel (broken pottery in Navajo) is an unforgettable hike along atributary of the deep desert Tsegi canyon, past waterfalls to asuperlativeAnaasazi ruin. The towering redrock is similar to the beautiful formationsfound in Sedona. Keet Seel with it's 165 rooms, is the best preserved andarguably the most outstanding ruin in the Southwest. The site has a viewovera lovely valley complete with stream, cottonwoods and meadows. Thecampgroundin the cottonwoods was excellent. We enjoyed a great view of the ruin fromour site. The trees provided a needed canopy, helping to keep us dry duringthe early afternoon and evening thunder showers.CALLING UP THE SPIRITSNavajos who had lived in the area had long known of this and other cliffdwellings but stayed away, believing that the sites were haunted by Anasazispirits. This is one of the factors contributing to their finepreservation.The only tough part of this hike is the 1000 ft. descent and subsequentclimbout of the canyon system. You must pack in a couple of gallons of water asthe streams have been polluted by grazing livestock. Dirty Bovines!!!Staying on course is a must as wandering down side canyons can draw ahostilereception by the local Navajos.On Friday, we drove to Kayenta-gateway to Monument Valley and stayed at thenew Hampton Inn. A very nice hotel. Steve and Russ dined on Navajo Tacos atalocal establishment. I took less risk and opted for soup and salad.We visited the Navajo code talkers exhibit. This is highly recommended ifyouvisit this area. The US Marine corps organized a special Navajo signal unitfor combat communication service during WWII. A platoon of Navajos wererecruited and trained in signal work using the Navajo language as a code,adapting a scheme tried in WWI, when the enemy was completely baffled bytheemployment of an Indian language in front line communications.On Saturday we started our hike at 9:30 A.M. after a required orientationatthe visitor center. We arrived at the campgrounds at 1:30 P.M. and wereblownaway by the view of the ruin, situated under a cavernous Navajo sandstoneoverhang where the canyon opens up. It started to rain about an hour priorto arrival. The rain was of great concern due to the flash flood danger inthese canyons during August.We dropped our gear at the campgrounds and headed to the rangers cabin foratour of the ruins. A young enthusiastic ranger gave an extensive tour. Hisname was Tim Mcglothin, he was 1/2 Irish and 1/2 Navajo. A great guy thatreally loves his job and this beautiful country.MAGICAL MYSTERY TOURThat night it rained until about 1:00 A.M. Not a drop got into El Lobo'snewone person Walrus tent with rain fly. "I am the egg man, I am theWalrus-KooKoo Ka Choo"SCARY NOISESThe evening noises included the pitter patter of rain, varmints scuryingabout and Steve's Indian Taco music. I heard loud laughs from the othercamp.The next day we rose early and climbed out close to 10:00 A.M.Steve and Russ waited for their spouses to pick them up for a trip toCortezColorado to look at some property.

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