Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stop 1: Monument Valley

Our road trip through the Four Corners region of the American Southwest was incredible. It was filled with so much natural beauty, our eyes were in overload. We drove through many changing landscapes that our ride was never boring, a road trip was the perfect way to see this part of the country.
After one night in Phoenix, visiting some old friends, we hit the road and drove north to Monument Valley. The drive there was our longest leg of our road trip, but we were so excited that it went by very quickly. We drove out of Phoenix along a highway dotted with saguaros, and then the scenery changed to pines near Flagstaff, and then as we got further north it opened up to beautiful rock formations, such as these Elephant Feet rocks right along the highway.
Driving into Monument Valley was like driving onto a movie set. The iconic scenery, which has appeared in many westerns, just took our breath away. This is why I love travel. You may think you're familiar with some of these things you've seen in photos and movies, but nothing prepares you for seeing it with your own eyes. The sheer scale of Monument Valley blew me away. This was pretty much our first view, just after we pulled into the parking lot of the visitor center.
We spent 2 nights in Monument Valley at The View Hotel, right inside the park. I'm glad we decided for 2 nights since we could be unhurried in seeing everything there. We did the entire drive through the valley on the only road that's open to the public, and we also did a hike around one of the mittens.
We also booked a guided tour which took us into areas that the public can't go to without a guide.
We also had plenty of time to relax on our balcony and gaze at the view. Both nights we watched the sun set and the full moon rise. D set up his camera during the night to take some star shots (which were a challenge because of the full moon, but still interesting).


From Monument Valley we drove north to Moab, with a stop along the way at Goosenecks State Park in southern Utah. More on that tomorrow!

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