Our First Visitor Since March

16 August 2012 in Memories, Trails/Hiking, Traveling

 

While Lindsay and I have an overwhelming abundance of places to go and things to do we find ourselves lacking a little in the social interaction department. The cats provide little of conversational value with their main points being “Rrrreow” (translation – “I’m hungry”) and “Mmmmeow” (translation – “Pet me”). They’re so demanding.

A View from Navajo BridgeSo having my Mom down for a visit was a nice change of pace—although it would prove to be the start of a lengthy and challenging pace for me. When she landed in Flagstaff I was there to pick her up and we had a pleasant drive back to catch up. It felt great serving as a tour guide, pointing out rock formations, mountains, and points of interest. We stopped at the Moki Houses on highway 89, Navajo Bridge, and Lees Ferry. As well as made our first stop—in what would seem an endless string of stops—at Safeway. With a few snacks as well as gin and tonic in hand we proceeded through the Wahweap Marina and back to the apartment. Then we stopped down to see Ranger Lindsay. My Mom was overjoyed to see her in her uniform so multiple pictures were in order. Then with the sun high in the sky we proceeded down to the beach.

The next day neither of us was overly enthused about getting in a car so I showed her Horseshoe Bend and we spent the rest of the day down at Lone Rock, picking up Lindsay on our way out. The following day was the beginning of Lindsay’s weekend so several celebratory drinks were in order and a fun night was had.

Monument ValleyThe next morning we awoke early, packed a lunch and snacks and headed east to Monument Valley. Lindsay and I had yet to visit and so it was a new experience for us all. The drive out was pretty long and uneventful. After two hours you begin to question your sense of direction and the map that made this adventure seem so simple. Where are the giant, monolithic stones of the old westerns? Where is this iconic landscape of legendary grandeur? Then you see a few, massive pillars of rock begin to pop through the otherwise flat horizon.

Pulling into the visitor center you are given a grand view of the surreal landscape of Monument Valley. The lonely, yet imposing red rock formations sprinkled across an otherwise empty desert floor. This place—along with several others in this wondrous area—must have been a questioning experience for european explorers. “Have we become dehydrated?” “Should we have eaten that cactus?” These places are incomprehensible without witness. Pictures can do little justice and descriptions even less. They are an experience which requires visual input as well as the physical point of view for scale. Not to mention the sounds of an unobscured desert wind, the heat of the sun and the smell of nothing.

Monument ValleyAfter lunch we decided to forgo the additional expense of a guided tour and drive into the valley ourselves. We had heard the road was rough, but as we ate lunch we saw cars coming in and out so how bad could it be? Answer: pretty damn bad. The road, particularly in the beginning—probably to encourage the guided tours—was horrendous. It threw our truck around—as well as all that was in it—like a toy boat on a rough sea. It was by far, hands down the worst road I’ve ever driven on. But at the same time it was entertaining and an experience to be remembered.

This park was on tribal lands so of course there was plenty for sale at each stop and whenever there are goods to be sold my mom is there to buy them. Almost every stop entailed a purchase of some sort of jewelry. While my mom shopped I took in the surroundings. I am constantly astounded by the changes in landscape in the seemingly small area of southern Utah and northern Arizona. It’s hard to wrap your head around the fact that an hour or two in any direction will provide a completely unique landscape and in some cases climate. I firmly believe that a lifetime spent here would hardly be enough time to see even a fraction of what this area has to offer.

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16 August 2012 Memories, Trails/Hiking, Traveling

1 Comment to Our First Visitor Since March

  1. I agree with that last statement. JIm and I have been coming out here for 5 years now, and I see something different on every drive down 89A. The landscape not only looks different every 40 or so miles down the road, it looks different in different light. I am still in awe of it after all this time.

  2. Karen on 16 August 2012

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