Thursday, May 28, 2015

Monuments upon Monuments

Monument Valley






On our way to our next destination we drove through Monument Valley. We got a little confused the signage and didn't realize you could continue on the normal public highway and still see the valley, so we forked over the $20 to get into the tribal land that encompasses Monument Valley. Again, we had a little problem with the unclear signage and we thought we'd be fine driving through the valley this way. Turns out it is incredibly rough terrain that you should really have a four wheel drive vehicle for. We got about a mile into the valley before laughing so hard at the absurdity of the roads and decided to turn back around for the health of Moby and in hope we'd make it back home in one piece!

We continued the rest of the way through the valley on the public paved highway, happy with our decision.

Natural Bridges National Monument



 




After a small storm continued to chase us slowly into the park, we decided to make the best of it and see as much as possible before it decided to pour on us. Natural Bridges is the only park in the world, other than China, that features three natural bridges in one location.

There is a 9 mile loop drive around the park with numerous overlooks and trails that lead to the bridges and ruins that we explored as much as possible before the wind started to howl and the sky began to weep on us.

Hovenweap National Monument
We awoke early this morning and headed to this small monument located in the middle of nowhere on the border of Utah and Colorado. We took the 2.5 mile hike around the park where were able to get up close to several Anasazi Ruins dating back to 1200 A.D.



After dodging more rain in Hovenweap, we headed to Mesa Verde National Park expecting a dryer outlook. Needless to say we camped outside of the park and enjoyed our two sandwich dinner as it rained buckets. Good thing we like this white beast! Up next we're taking a tour of Mesa Verde and several of the cliff dwellings.

Happy travels!




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Lake Powell

After two days at the Grand Canyon, we began our drive towards Lake Powell. Christopher's dad and uncle both once worked at the Hite Marina in Lake Powell and as a child he spent many summers here houseboating. Needless to say, it has a special place in his heart and he was excited to show me this nostalgic place.

On the first day we took a two hour tour of the lake visiting popular spots such as Castle Rock, Navajo Tapestry, and Antelope Canyon. The weather was perfect and we were happy to be on the lake exploring.






Interesting Lake Powell factoids:
  • 95% of the lake is located in Utah, while only 5% is located in Arizona
  • There is more coastline on the lake than on the entire West Coast of America
We finished off the day by setting up camp at Lone Rock Beach, a public beach located on the Utah side of the lake. The beach was idyllic with its own private view and access to the lake and was a popular camping spot for RVs and tent campers alike. While you could drive your vehicle down to the beach, we opted to walk the .8 miles down from the paved parking lot as we had heard horror stories of people getting their cars stuck and since we didn't have four wheel drive we didn't want to risk it.





The next day we spent the morning at the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor Center and took an hour long tour of the dam itself. If you're ever in the area and have never been on a dam tour, I highly recommend it.




We then took a short hike to Horseshoe Bend and explored the surrounding area.





The second evening we planned on sleeping on Lone Rock Beach again. We had our tent all set up, Christopher was playing with Theo on the beach and I was napping peacefully in the tent when all of a sudden a big wind picked up. Moments later we were stuck in the middle of a sandstorm with no idea what to do!



The sand on the beach, as mentioned before, was very fine so it pelted us fiercely as the wind whipped it in our face. We, along with all the other nearby tent campers, quickly dismantled our tent. Meanwhile, Theo was having none of this crazy sandstorm adventure and tried to hide in our sleeping bags as we feverishly tried to put everything away nearly folding him up in all our equipment.

We scooped up Theo and hid him under a blanket so we could quickly trudge back up to Moby. As we were sequestered to our van for the rest of the evening we had a cold meal of tuna sandwiches and delicious wine while playing music and reading books. Theo was exhausted from the stressful ordeal and slept the entire evening and night away. Meanwhile, we laughed about the adventure but swore to take showers in the morning to get the sand out of our hair, ears, etc.



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The Grandest Canyon of Them All


After arriving in the rain to the Grand Canyon, we decided it was better to fork over a few bucks to stay at their campground since the other free campsites outside the park were unpaved and we don't have four wheel drive and were afraid of getting stuck in the mud. We stayed at the Desert View Campground which is on the eastern edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Both of us had never been off to explore this area of the Grand Canyon before so we were happy for the excuse to spend two days adventuring.




 

This enormous canyon holds such incredible beauty that increases at every turn. There are million and one angles to view the canyon and we tried to take in as many as possible.

Some of our favorite spots were:

+ Visiting the Yavapai Museum of Geology

+ Sunrise hikes



+ Exploring the Desertview Watchtower






 
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Petrified Forest National Park


The following day we headed east to Petrified Forest National Park, located in Navajo and Apache counties off a section of the famous Route 66 Highway. The park features an incredible array of petrified wood from trees that fell during the Late Triassic period, which was about 225 million years ago.

 

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