Although it was overcast and a bit dreary we headed to the Navajo Nation … to make the 17 mile loop drive through Monument Valley. I was a bit worried about the drive as I had heard that the roads were quite rough. We had the Jeep and its four wheel drive if necessary but … As it turned out the drive was OK. There were spots that were a bit rough but going slow was the answer. Speed limit signs of 15 MPH were posted but we never got over 9 MPH and most of the time we went only 3 or 4! Of course we stopped often as well so it took us nearly three hours to complete the drive. It was windy and dusty and although the thermometer stated that the temp was in the 40’s with the wind it felt much colder.
Our first magnificent view was of the mittens, the West Mitten Butte and the East Mitten Butte. My camera could not capture the beauty and my words can’t describe it. There they were in all of their splendor reigning over the vast valley like kings. What a sight to behold. As they protruded into the cloudy sky the enormity was almost overwhelming.
Next we saw the Elephant Butte and it is just as you would imagine, a gigantic elephant facing the west of the desert. And then onto the Three Sisters, a Catholic nun facing her two pupils. Again the sheer beauty in the red rocks and the enormity were nearly overwhelming. As we stood there gazing at them the sun rays broke through the clouds and it was mesmerizing to watch the constant changes in the colors moment by moment.
Our next stop was John Ford’s Point but since several tour buses had stopped ahead of us we decided to forego that and see it on our return. We continued on the road that had become more difficult to navigate and reached the Hub. The Hub symbolizes a hub of a wagon wheel and the Navajos see it as a fire place in the center of a gigantic Hogan. It was spectacular to say the least but when we got the binoculars out we saw it much clearer and there beside it were two Hogans!
The center of the park is the Rain God Mesa where Navajo medicine men pray and give thanks to the Rain God who stored water for the people. We tried to take pictures but due to its enormous size and being so close to it we were unable to.
The road continued to deteriorate but we soldiered on next seeing the Totem Pole in the distance. It is a spire monument, an example of what erosion does to a butte. We know that erosion from a mesa causes a butte, erosion from a butte causes a spire but what happens to the spire? Do they disintegrate and fall to the ground? Were the many rocks we see lying around once spires?
Continuing along the rocky, sometimes graveled road we reached Artist’s Point, described as a place where artists can create landscapes and bring them to life on canvas. Wow, is that true. What a panoramic view!
A brief stop at the North Window and a look at the Thumb, a free standing butte apart from Camel Butte. It is described as looking like a cowboy boot but quite frankly I thought it looked like a gigantic thumb!
On our way out we stopped again at John Ford’s Point where we got out and took a couple of pictures on the windy cold point. One more stop for some last pictures and we were on our way out of the magnificent Monument Valley.
Although we had packed a lunch we decided on our way out to visit Keyanta, Arizona, 22 miles away for lunch at the Amigo’s, an authentic Mexican restaurant which had been recommended. When you pull into a parking lot and can hardly find a space to park you know the food is good especially when the locals are eating there. We had to wait a few minutes for a table as the small restaurant was completely full. I got a Green Chili Hamburger (the chili’s lived up to their name – it was hot) and Jerry got an Navajo burger on fry bread. It was enormous! I noticed that an order of fry bread was only $2.95 as opposed to the $5 we paid last night but we were too full to get any.