Notes from the Southwest: Monument Valley

12 June 14: 1638

Muley Point

Today we stopped off for lunch about 3 miles away from the main road at a place called Muley Point, Utah.

This scenic overlook was down a chewed up washboard, dirt road. I have never felt smaller!

Muley Point Muley Point

You could see for miles from our perch hundreds of feet above the valley. It’s amazing in the desert, because you drive along for miles on flat, scrubby land and all of a sudden the world disappears into a great basin of razor sharp red and beige layers of rock.

After feasting at the edge of the world, we made our way back to the main road and traveled down these wicked cool and terrifyingly steep switchbacks.

Forrest Gump

A little while later, we stopped at another iconic location: the road where Mr. Gump decided to stop running. Naturally, Cassie and I were delighted!

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Our campsite was peaceful. The only sound there really is the rush of wind funneled through the valley. This is a traditional spiritual place for the Navajo, and you can feel it, the history is swirling around you, picking up strands of your hair, and ferrying puffy clouds through a perfectly turquoise sky. I couldn’t wait to see amethyst and sapphire born out of the sky as the sun set and reflected its final rays on the shadowy, eroded rock.

Campsite Chacos

We rode over to the reservation for a wonderful sunset jeep tour of Monument Valley. We met our Navajo guide, Bobby, clad in a polo shirt and braces and climbed into a rickety old jeep fitted with stadium style seating in the truck bed. The road we took through the valley was not really a road…more of a decently wide stretch of uneven, hard dirt, riddled with pot holes and rocks.

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A quick glance to my left and enormous rock structures rose toward the sky. In my mind, they became silent giants, their presence screaming into the universe. Such impressive formations often distinguish themselves in dimensions other than sight, but these giants produced no sound. They just stood with unassuming dignity, reaching upward like great hands raised in prayer.

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We curved around the path, stopping at various overlooks. After the tour, we had Navajo tacos and watched the sunset turn the rusty looking buttes and mesas into living creatures, transforming from amber and gold into violet and mahogany.

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The moon rose full above the valley and cast a watchful eye over the newly minted night shadows. This is classic America, and traveling and witnessing the amazing details of this spectacular country is the true American Dream.

Monument Valley



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