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Monument Valley USA - Definitely Worth A Visit
The Drive There
Just getting to Monument Valley is amazing, you drive though the most wonderful, awe inspiring scenery, it takes forever to get there as you are always stopping to take photos. You don't think it can get much better, but then it does.
The roads are red and dusty, there is nothing and no one for miles and miles apart from fantastic views, you can see what seems like forever. It is hot and dry, but on the drive there we had a flash rain storm and it was the heaviest rain storm I have ever been in, the road flooded in seconds and red rivers sprang up at the side of the road, we had to stop as you could not see to drive, the wipers just were no good in this storm. Then it stopped as soon as it started and the sun shone again.
The Valley is in a dry state, no alcohol can be purchased, it is the law of the Navajo Tribe that own and protect the reserve.
We stayed in the View Hotel, right in the reserve, each room looks out onto the valley. The photo at the right of this, is of the sun rise, and was taken from our room, it was truly amazing sitting and watching the sky change every few minutes.
The valley is part of the Colorado plateau, in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
The Navajo name translated is "Valley of the rocks"
Natural forces of wind and water have eroded away the red sandstone to leave the most stunning scenery. The sandstone rock ranges between 400 to 1000ft The sun and clouds change the look of the landscape every minute. The rock can look a vibrant red, changing to a subtle hue, the different angles of the sunlight though out the day highlight the formations of the rock, changing the look, casting shadows or lighting up parts in bright sunshine, if you just stood in the same spot all day long the view in front of you would change almost every half hour, sunrise and sunset being the most magnificent and majestic.
The climate here has vast ranges from the lowest winter temperature at 25 F or -3 Celsius to summer temperatures of 93 f or 34 Celsius. There can be snow in winter and usually the nights in summer are cooler than the days, so take a warm jumper, as it does cool down.
The changing scenesClick thumbnail to view full-size
View from the our room
When You Are There
Monument Valley is truly out of this world place. We stayed in the View Hotel which is in the park, it is the only hotel where you can stay and see the sun rise and sun set. You don't have to stay to go there, but you do have to pay to get on the park, but once there you can stay until the park closes after sunset.
The facilities are good here, there is a Visitors centre with a museum telling of the history of the area and the Navajo Tribe's story. There is gift shop selling arts and crafts, guide books, jewellery, books, DVD's and T-shirts to name a few.
A cafe and restaurant, the restaurant overlooks the valley and it is a wonderful experience to sit by the window and eat looking out over the Valley as the sun is going down.
Or you can sit on the balconies and viewing verandas, to just watch the changing view in front of you.
Once all the tourists have left and the park closes, the hotel is very quiet and peaceful, everyone staying there is staying for the same reason, to watch the sky change the landscape from bright red to a bright red sky, where the magnificent cloud formations change the look of the landscape surrounding you . It is the most peaceful place I have ever stayed. There is a hush that falls over the area, a serene, calm and relaxing atmosphere. It is like the modern world has dispersed and you are left with the calm and unhurried feeling of peace. The night is very dark as there are no lights anywhere and you are encouraged to keep lights low in your room and curtains closed. Sitting on your balcony watching the huge sparkling stars is something I will remember all my life. It is so quiet, no traffic noise, no lights, no bars, nothing just nature. I would have been happy to never leave. You slow down to the pace of the place and feel slightly detached from the modern world.
Once it has gone dark there is not very much to do, there is no bar to have a drink, but you can stroll around the area in the peace and quiet. Or you can sit on your balcony and watch one of the John Wayne westerns which they play on the wall of the hotel, as every room faces the same way all rooms can see it, you are watching a John Wayne film in the place it was filmed, it is a little surreal.
You will get up early to watch the sunrise, because that is why you are there, the times are around the hotel so you don't miss out, the sunrise is as magnificent and magical as the sunset. We sat and just watched the changing sky with the sun rising behind the huge sandstone monuments.
Monument Valley PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
17 Mile Scenic Drive
This fantastic drive starts from the visitors center at the hotel and you return back to the visitors center. It is a breathtaking drive around the Buttes, mesas, and spire rocks, of Monument Valley. It takes about 3-4 hours to go round, the roads are uneven and bumpy so you can only go about 15 mph at most, but you don't want to go fast anyway. You want to take in the view. You can stop and take wonderful scenic photos of the vast red landscape.
You can go in your own car or take one of the tours. Just beware in your own car as the road is really just a track. We went in the morning and there was not much traffic, but I do think that later in the day it is meant to get quite busy.
On the way around there are the Navajo people selling their arts are crafts, they sell jewellery, crystals, fabric and leather goods, hand made by the people the pieces are unique to the area.
Close to the start of the drive is John Ford Point, here you can sit and sip a drink while watching the Navajo people sell their art and jewellery at their stalls, and just gaze at the scene surrounding you.
John Ford Point is where a lot of the Westerns were filmed in between 1939-1960, you can really see why he picked this area, the view is truly incredible, and vast.
One thing you don't really realise is that the Navajo still live there on the park, they are tucked away, but you can go round a corner and there is a small settlement of the native people going about their normal daily business.
It really is an awe inspiring place and one which I will keep with me forever.
The atmosphere as well as the views are in my memory, I can only describe the whole place as tranquil and spiritual, you can almost feel the history of the people who have lived here though out the centuries.
17 Mile Drive
© 2013 Lavender Jade