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Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah–the Navajo Nation

Hubby does most of our vacation planning;  he loves to research things on the internet and plan things out, make reservations, and have everything scheduled.   When he mentioned Monument Valley, I will confess, I had to say “what’s that?”   He replied that when I saw it, I would recognize the distinctive rock formations.   Well, alas, I did not, but it was a totally cool place to visit.  here’s the quintessential view–this is the “left mitten”…notice the fingers on the left, the thumb sticking up on the right:

To backtrack, Monument Valley is on the border of Utah and Arizona, about 2 1/2 hours drive up a nice highway from Flagstaff, so we stayed the night at The View Hotel, a new facility.   The entire area is within the Navajo Nation.

On the way, I snapped some pictures from the moving car of the striated bluffs; it was spring, so there was a flush of green on them:


I loved the gnarled and twisty trees, and wish I had been able to get more and better photos as they whizzed by:

The View Hotel is incredibly well designed to meld into the scenery.   I’ve highlighted it below.

There has been a store and restaurant there for some time, but the hotel–the left side in the photo above– is apparently fairly new, and quite nice.  I love when architecture blends into the environment…the tiers of the hotel on the left look like more levels in the rock cliff!

Since the climate is so arid, and since so many families on the Navajo reservation do not even have running water, they made a deliberate decision NOT to have a pool.  I also noticed that there is no alcohol for sale in the restaurant…no wine or beer.  There are big problems with alcoholism in some Native American communities, and I applaud their decision to forego the income from tourists and choose not to offer alcohol for sale.    Our room was on the third floor…here is Paul at the balcony.

We had hoped to see a zillion stars this far from any large cities, but alas it clouded over (this was the storm that pulled in to the Grand Canyon in my earlier post).

There is a 17 mile loop drive that you can see in the photo above.  I took TONS of photos… I particularly was entranced by the colors of green (remember these were taken back in early spring):

And Eli sitting half-out of the (stopped) car to take a picture:

Then those ROCKS and bluffs:

That boulder in the one above is bigger than a car!  And more…even I, who pretty much always makes representative art, am thinking abstract work inspired by these rocks:

And to prove that inspiration is EVERYWHERE…this is dust on the bumper of the rental car…. won’t that make an awesome screen for printing on fabric?

I actually managed to play with my watercolors, sitting on the balcony to our room, and painted JUST the wall/face of this bluff:


5 Responses to “Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah–the Navajo Nation”

  1. Dorothy Karman Says:

    I was very surprised that you didn’t recognise anything at Monument Valley! I have decided that you must be too young to have seen any of those old cowboy movies. Most of the movies had scenes filmed in Monument Valley. Here am I, all this way on the other side of the world and I recognised the shapes in M.Valley. But then I did grow up with the old cowboy movies and I am as old as dirt! (I’ve also visited M.Valley on one of our trips to the USA.) Have fun! Regards, Dorothy.

  2. Linda Moran Says:

    Monument Valley is amazing – did you get to Sedona?? There are some red rocks you won’t believe! I use a lot of the colors for inspiration, and I’ve done a lot of digital manipulation of the rocks. The desert is so different. You will need to come back!

  3. Maggie Szafranski Says:

    It is so easy to forget that there are still parts of the US that are rugged, pristine, and so uninhabited. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Jacquie in Vermont Says:

    Love your travel photos. The red/pink color of the cliffs reminds me of a line from a poem about the city of Petra:
    ‘A rose red city half as old as time’

    It is from the poem ‘Petra” by John William Burgos:
    It seems no work of Man’s creative hand,
    by labour wrought as wavering fancy planned;

    But from the rock as if by magic grown,
    eternal, silent, beautiful, alone!

    Not virgin-white like that old Doric shrine,
    where erst Athena held her rites divine;

    Not saintly-grey, like many a minster fane,
    that crowns the hill and consecrates the plain;

    But rose-red as if the blush of dawn,
    that first beheld them were not yet withdrawn;

    The hues of youth upon a brow of woe,
    which Man deemed old two thousand years ago,

    match me such marvel save in Eastern clime,
    a rose-red city half as old as time.

  5. Linda Moran Says:

    Sarah- too bad you didn’t get some gallery hopping in – Tlaqapaque is amazing – you need to be away from the touristy area – the side roads are gorgeous. Just returned from meandering the back roads and just looking at rocks and petroglyphs – next time!