Bacon and eggs for breakfast, double yay! We left the campground late (11:20) and went to Gooseneck State Park. We found out about this small park from another Roadtrek owner we talked with at the Four Corners Monument. It is a few miles off the road, and we never would have known it was there otherwise. We paid the modest entrance fee (it is a Utah state park) and marveled at the deep canyon twisting around like a snake.
When this part of the country was lower and quite flat, the San Juan River meandered around pretty much at random. As the Colorado Plateau was slowly pushed up, the river kept cutting away at its bed until this deep canyon was formed.
Our next objective was Monument Valley, whose landscape was made famous when John Ford shot so many westerns there. On the way, we passed through the little town of Mexican Hat (also featured in Hillerman novels), named after an interesting rock formation nearby.
We approached Monument Valley by the route seen in Forrest Gump, when he is running across country.
In Monument Valley, you can drive a rough loop road through the area closest to the Visitor Center; or you can get a tour from a Navajo. They are called Jeep tours, but generally you are in the modified bed of a truck.
We arranged for a trip to the back-country. It is less commonly seen, but it includes some arches. It’s also very expensive ($160 for 1 ½ hours). And by the way, Navajos don’t take credit cards; it took all the cash we could scrape up between us. It is a 1 ½ hour trip on the worst road in the universe, with no stops until you get past the usual loop. We both felt like we’d been dragged through a knothole.
|Our guide did stop to take a picture of us at the formation known as The Mittens|
I tried shooting on the run, which is wild but seems to work out okay at 1/1000 second.
He took us way in the back, where there are several arches. I got several pictures. The arches are more impressive that the ones near Aztec, but still not as big is the better-known ones farther up in Utah.
There are also some petroglyphs in that area.
We spent most of the afternoon in Monument Valley, it is a fabulous place. We’ll pick up the story tomorrow in Tuba City.