Friday, March 11, 2016

Canyon de Chelly

"As it started to snow, some 300 men, women, and children, perhaps tipped off by a sentry that an army was on its way, ascended to the top and pulled up the ladders. Hoping the evil might pass beneath them, they planned to hunker down and dwell in silence for months.Then one day, as the bleak winter sun slipped behind the canyon walls, a column of American soldiers came marching into the canyon, laying waste to fields and chiseling their Kilroys into the sandstone. Some of their inscriptions are still visible today.  Somehow detecting the Navajo sequestered on top, the Americans camped near the base of Fortress Rock, beside a stream called Tsaile Creek, and attempted to starve them into final submission.

But unknown to the soldiers, the Navajo was already slowly perishing from thirst; the snows had melted away, and the natural cisterns pocking the surface had run dry.
So one moonless night, the Fortress Rock exiles devised a plan: They formed a human chain along the sloping rock, down to Tsaile Creek, where several American guards lay sleeping. A group of warriors crept out onto a ledge over the stream and dangled gourds from yucca ropes, dipping the containers into the cold running water. They filled gourd after gourd and steadily passed the vessels from hand to hand back up the sheer rock face to the summit. By dawn they had replenished their stores.
So what happened to them? They outlasted the siege and were never captured".
Except above from: Outside Magazine, Hampton Sides, 2006