I'm back!!! It's only been a month or so.....:-)
Still writing about the spring trip here. But rest assured, we're hard at work and play here in Wyoming. We've had some great hiking and kayaking so far this summer, and I will do a photo essay on our adventures, but I do want to keep a record of the spring trip.
So we left off at Bernalillo, N.M., and our hike at Tent Rocks. We had left Bernalillo and headed towards Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii, Navajo for Monument Valley, on the Arizona/Utah border. The area is a Navajo Nation Tribal Park, considered the private land of the Navajo Nation. You can choose to pay an entrance fee to enter on your own, but you are limited to driving the one road through the monuments. Upon the advice of friends of ours, Lee and Tracy Perkins of Camper Chronicles, we elected to sign up for a Navajo-guided photo tour of the valley that takes you off the beaten path.
Just a side note here: the road from Bernalillo to Monument Valley is pretty remote, and much of it traverses Navajo land. Farmington is the last spot to really have any services, so make sure you are not low on fuel at this point! We also ran into a major wind/sandstorm that had not been forecasted, and I definitely advise not driving in one if it's not necessary. Unfortunately, by that time we were on the reservation and there were no opportunities to stop. We made it, but it was not my favorite day of driving!
Our first day there was spent recuperating from the drive, doing some laundry, and just generally scouting the area. It wasn't a nice day, still very cloudy, so I didn't get many pictures. We did drive up to Goosenecks State Park and wander around the rim of the goosenecks. The San Juan River twists its way through this canyon on its way to Lake Powell. It's very hard to get a picture that adequately conveys the nature of its path, but you can kind of see it in this picture. Just follow the ribbon of water!
The tiny town of Mexican Hat, Utah, is between Monument Valley and Goosenecks State Park. Population is 31. The rock formation above is what the town is named after!
The next day we were up early and glad to see clear skies for our photo tour. The day we arrived the sand was blowing so badly that we couldn't even see any of the monument formations!
We met our guide and headed into the valley. An early morning tour actually is not optimal for photographing most of the formations, but I did my best.
Monument Valley consists of towering sandstone formations that have been sculpted by the elements over time and rise between 400 to 1,000 feet above the valley floor. The park covers close to 92,000 acres and lies within the Navajo Nation reservation. It is most recognizable as being the backdrop for innumerable western movies and shows, beginning with many John Wayne films starting in 1939.
The following pictures are all from our jeep tour into the back country.
And, of course, the now famous "Forrest Gump" scene, where he decides that he's tired of running and goes home!
From here, we were headed to Lake Mead Recreational Area, south of Las Vegas, Nevada. We were headed there to meet up with Steve and Joan Crowe, FOSJ, who were volunteering there for the winter. Looking at our possible routes there, we decided to drop down to I40 and stop in Flagstaff for the night. Contacting our good friends Steve and Teresa Heede, who we worked with in 2012 in Colorado and 2015 here at Luton's, they drove up from Mesa to visit with us for the evening. The best part about traveling across the country! You get to see all your RVing friends :-).
From Flagstaff we arrived in Lake Mead the next day, and that, along with our visit to Death Valley National Park, will be the subject of the next journal entry.