Sunday, June 15, 2008

Monument Valley Is Where You Should Be

If you have never seen or been to Monument Valley... you are missing out. It is not exactly in a location that affords a lot of other possibilities unless you are doing all the canyon lands of southern Utah (which is a trip totally worth making btw.) But Monument Valley will hold my heart pretty much forever. It's one of the best spots I have had the priveledge of experiencing.

The entire area is part of Navajo Land... they have a tribal park which encompasses the more thrilling areas of the landscape that costs you $5 a head to get in to. There is a 17 mile loop drive that you can do through the park and it is so worth it to take the time to do it. It is a bone jarring drive... the road is really rough in some spots but it will afford you some views that will blow you mind. Especially if you are lucky enough to hit the scene on a cloudy day when cloud shadows are racing over the landscape. We were there on such a day and lingered until sunset and it was so incredibly beautiful that it literally brought me to tears. The only other place I have been that did this to me was Point Lobos near Carmel, CA. We spent 4 days at Gouldings Lodge Campground which is inside of a red rock canyon area with a view out over the valley. They have a little grocery store, a gas station and there is a restaurant at the lodge if you want to go out to eat. Other than that you will have to drive for a couple of hours if you want to see something different or go out to eat someplace other than in Mexican Hat which is 22 miles north of the valley and has maybe two small roadside places to eat.

The lodge is busy with international tourists. We met people from Wales, Holland, Slovenia, Japan and so on. It makes for a cool crowd at the restaurant and it is fun to strike up a conversation with your neighbor to find out where they are from and what they are going to see next. Anyway... without further adieu here are a few photos from the valley. I think they are sufficient to explain the grandeur of the place.

Here is a view from a pretty good distance as we were on the approach driving in...



Here's Rudy and I and Big Berta taking a break roadside to watch the sunset...




A few shots from the valley loop drive...









At this point I need you all to understand that we took almost 20GB of photos while on this trip. I could post images for days. It was such a photogenic landscape we just plain could not stop.

While in the tribal park there is a 3.5 mile hike you can do which takes you down around one of the mitten rock formations. We did it and it was amazing. The best part is when you get around back of the mitten and you are standing there in it's huge shadow. Here's a few shots from the hike...






I am just now starting to have white feet again. My feet were orange from the dirt for a week or so after walking around out there. The color is just insane... so rich and intense.

So there you have it. I did not want to come back to Santa Fe. I wanted to stay out there and wander around in that red dirt landscape for awhile. It was so beautiful and bizarre.

We are here now working our asses off trying to get caught up and to get ready to leave in two months for California. Billy will be doing paintings of the canyon lands over the next few weeks... I will try to post a few once he gets them done.

Happy Father's Day to anyone to whom it applies and hope you are having a grand Summer so far....

2 comments:

Missy B said...

Loving all the pictures from your recent travels. Of course, the "dirty Rudy series" is always my favorite...I like to laugh!

Groover said...

Got to come and see it one day. It's stunning. It has been photographed somany times but your shots hold the same fascination. It's probably like Ayers Rock (Uluru) here in Oz.