Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spider Rock Campground - Canyon de Chelly, AZ

 The thing about a place like this is it's almost sincere by definition. On the other hand there are some things that make the experience of being in a place that is simply jaw-droppingly beautiful and wondrous even more compelling. A few years back we packed up the car, brought along a small tent and went out to rough it for a few days in the wilds of Arizona. We arrived at Spider Rock Campground near Canyon de Chelly, (pronounced "shay") spent a while talking with the very pleasant Navajo man who ran the place, set up the tent, and headed out to view the rock. Nothing I could ever say about that monolith could possibly prepare anyone for actually being on the edge of the canyon looking for themselves. You just have to go. That's it. What could make that experience better? The human touch. When we returned to our campsite a few hours later it was dusk. We discovered that the man running the campground had heaped a generous supply of firewood right next to our tent. It was a simple thing, but the cost of the wood back in "civilization" would have been more than cost of staying on those grounds ($10.00). It was welcoming, generous and really beyond anything we might have expected. He called it a blessing. He told us, "the fire is life." That night we slept like babies warm from the fire, blessed by the wood, and bathed in starlight. A blessing indeed.

(By the way, Canyon de Chelly is much more than Spider Rock. A fantastic hike into the canyon to the river at it's base provides some of the most spectacular scenery you will ever see, including the ancient cliff-dwellings that exist in niche of a sheer rock face, hundreds of feet high.)

Evaluation: Extraordinarily sincere!


Spider Rock Campground

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