Monday we left Moab for Monument Valley. What incredible vistas—H’mmm. Think I’ve said that before. On the way in, we went through Mexican Hat…
And.. what looked like sand painting in the jars I’ve bought at fairs—except it’s miles and miles of natural cliffs painted with subtle hues that are spectacular…think ten times more impressive in person!
Finally, Monument Valley appeared like ghostly specters in the distance. We found out what caused that erie veil the next day!
When we hit the Valley—son of a gun! Just like the pictures! Amazing doesn’t do it justice. Plus, our RV park is nestled 20 feet from the red rocks with a view of the big formations below.
Tuesday we toured the valley—we saw why there was a haze on the horizon coming in—WIND AND DUST. Red rocks and lots and lots of red dust. The gusts have been extreme blasts. And cold!. We went onto the Navajo reservation for some close up views—and stopped at some Native American jewelry stands on the side of the road. Oh yea!
The Mittens–look closely and you’ll see how they got their name.
A Navajo dog visited at Sentinel Mesa
We also got a look at a navajo Hogan–it’s amazing how similar the design is to the Mongolian Gers we visited outside Ulaan Baatar, while we rode horses and tented our way through the northwest corner of the country. While we watched the local Mongolians put up a Ger in 2 hours, the Navajo homes were permanent structures made of cedar logs and foot-think adobe walls to give protection from temperatures that can range from 5-105 degree extremes on the open plain. (What the Mongols would have given to have a ready supply of wood like that!) The Hogan has a two-foot hole in the roof over the stove. I asked about closing it for rain and snow. Our guide grew up in a hogan and said it wasn’t a problem. The rain and snow always comes sideways–again the constant winds– so just a little would fall in the house.
I also spent some time touring the local museum of the Gouldings, who originally founded a trading post here in the early 1900’s. They were the ones who first introduced Hollywood to the fabulous natural backdrops in the area after the Depression. Their main lodge sits beside the little cabin John Wayne called home over extended periods here. Their living conditions are harsh now–I can’t even imagine what their lives were like back then. This is a tough land—even the pervasive tumble weed is nasty, with thorns that make waking off any main trail a real challenge.
Tuesday night we took a dusk tour into the park to watch the full moon rise over the Totem Pole monument—made famous in the movie Eiger Sanction. On the way we stopped at several famous monuments, including John Ford’s Point, the site of many of his movie locations.
The first of the Three Sisters does resemble a nun…
The cold wind persisted and clouds blotted out our “moonrise” shots at the Totem Pole and Spearhead Mesa. We froze on the way back!
Today is our last day. We bagged an early horseback ride among the monuments. Too bad….Probably not smart to schedule a dawn get-up after the late cold night tour we finished just a few hours before. We had NO interest in heading out into the cold winds with morning gray skies.
It rained and blew off-and–on the rest of the day. I did visit a local market and was privileged to meet Nelson Lewis, an award-winning second-generation Navajo sandpainter. We kept looking for a rainbow after all the rain…no luck. But did find a hidden arch in the rocks behind the RV camp!
Tomorrow we’re off to Torrey, UT.
More to come!