Friday, August 28, 2009

Valley of the Gods - Utah

Located within an hours drive from Monument Valley is a place called Valley of the Gods. While Monument Valley is on the Navajo Nation and covers Arizona and Utah, Valley of the Gods is located on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in Utah. Seeing as how this is BLM land you can actually camp here for free as Don did several years ago.

There's a 17 mile winding dirt dusty road through the valley and you have a choice of two entrances. There's an entrance off Highway 261 and another off 163. Take either entrance as they are both well marked; as a matter of fact take one then turn around and drive back so you can see things you may have missed the other way.

As you may have figured out by now we travel in a four wheel drive high clearance vehicle, currently a 4 door Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. We very rarely will recommend roads as some we travel on can be better called goat paths; however the 17 mile dirt road here is very passable in even 2-wheel drive vehicles. Okay here's a huge caution and hopefully your common sense will kick in as well - if it's dry it "should be okay" - if it's wet then expect mud, lots of mud and you have to ask yourself are you feeling lucky.

Several things put Valley of the Gods apart from Monument Valley; you can camp here, you can actually drive the road through the valley and not see another car and more than likely a single tourist bus. We've always considered Valley of the Gods a mini Monument Valley and you can actually see the higher parts of Monument Valley in some parts. Expect to find a remote vast iconic desert with equally spectacular sandstone sculptures and spires only on a smaller scale.

Not to belabor the point however please use extreme caution if you decide to visit this beautiful area. It can get deadly hot and there are no facilities so in other words - you are on your own. You could be out here for several hours before seeing someone so please be careful. There is the Valley of the Gods Bed and Breakfast located near the entrance off Highway 261 but that can be a very long way if you're on the other end of the road. Valley of the Gods is located approximately 30 minutes either way between Mexican Hat to the west and Bluff to the east.

We decided to revisit the area while staying at Monument Valley. The majority of the images are from that stay however we've decided to add a couple more from a visit several years ago when we actually had a decent sky so please enjoy them.

Don checking this out to see if it would qualify for cash for clunkers..

2004 visit

Our next stop is Goosenecks State Park before heading to Marble Canyon so stay tuned.

We hope you've enjoyed the images.

Sandy & Don

As always please feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Monument Valley August 2009 Part II

We wanted to share the following images of Monument Valley along with those from the other day. These images were taken over two days and three visits on the 17 mile drive.

Monument Valley is a very special place; we love the beautiful scenery as well as the friendly people. You can sit and look at the vistas and let your imagination run wild reviewing just about every western John Wayne and John Ford ever made.

You can't forget the contribution of the Navajo Code Talkers during the 2nd World War either and the many lives they had a direct hand in saving.

We didn't get the clouds or lightning we had hoped for - we nevertheless came away happy as we always do from the time spent in this very special place.

Thanks for visiting

Sandy & Don

Next stop will be Valley of the Gods so stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dinosaur Tracks & Monument Valley

As we said earlier we spent a week in northern Arizona visiting places we've been to before and stopping at some we've not, till this trip.

We left Tucson early Monday afternoon headed to Flagstaff where we spent the night before going to Monument Valley in the morning. The main purpose of the trip was to visit Monument Valley during monsoon season in hopes of capturing lightning along with the beautiful landscape. Sorry to say we're experiencing a drier than normal monsoon and failed to get the stormy skies, lightning or for that matter much clouds while we were in the valley; which doesn't mean the trip was a total bust as any time spent in Monument Valley is special.

We made a side trip to visit dinosaur tracks located on the Navajo Nation a couple miles before Tuba City. We spent the better part of an hour with a Navajo guide as she showed us where to look for the tracks; some of these tracks were very hard to see while others were easy. Sandy even touch dinosaur poop which was the highlight of her day!

We arrived at Monument Valley a couple hours after leaving the dinosaur tracks and checked into the View Hotel that is located directly on the rim of the valley. We've been visiting Monument Valley for several years and never tire of what we see. There is a 17 mile drive through the valley that can be done safely in a two wheel drive car if you take it slow. We spent two days here and took the drive 3 times.

We have a lot of images to share and will separate them into different blog entries to make it more manageable.

The View Hotel in the morning
View of the valley from the hotel

Part two and additional images coming soon.
Sandy & Don