Tuesday – Navajo Country

We set out with just the truck to explore the Navajo National Monument in NW Arizona. This monument preserves three intact cliff dwellings – although we only hiked out to one. And really, we didn’t actually hike to the dwellings. We hiked to the view of the dwellings. Apparently they only have guided tours to the actual ruins on the weekends, and when we saw where they were, we realized that we probably wouldn’t have taken thathike anyway. (Again, it’s the bad knees going down and the asthma (and general stamina) coming back up. We just know our limits.) But the 1 mile hike to the overlook was very lovely, and the view of the dwellings excellent (even though they looked like doll houses!)
Navajo Monument-1
See that alcove in the rocks? Where all the shade is?
Navajo Monument-2
This little community was built into that alcove they estimate about 800 years ago. Amazing! And what’s more amazing, they estimate that it was only lived in for about a generation. Like 30-40 years. My goodness, what a lot of work for such a short time. And I wonder why they moved on?
Navajo Monument-3
This is a view of the entire valley from the pathway to the viewing point. At least they had a room with a view!

After we returned to fetch Lizzie we set out “for real”, heading north into Utah. But first, we stopped at the magnificient Monument Valley. This isn’t a National Park, but a Navajo Tribal Park – a first for us. It was actually very similar to a National Park – visitor center, scenic road, gift shop, and tours, but it was different in that there are Native Americans that actually live within the park, and at many of the pull-outs there were vendors selling Navajo jewelry and art.
I’m so glad we did this park – it was spectacular!
Even the drive there was beautiful –
But once inside the park – my, oh, my…
Along with the jewelry/art vendors there were also a couple of spots where you could hire a guide to see the monuments on horseback. Or, you could just have your picture taken on a horse.
More scenery….
And a final panorama –
ValleyofMonument Pano
(Sorry if that seemed like a lot of pictures – but if you had seen how many I actually took, you’d be proud of me for whittling them down to these!)

The rest of the day was spent on the road. But what a beautiful road that was!
Tuesday Road-2
Tuesday Road-3
(catch the 6% grade sign? Keep your eye on those signs!)
Tuesday Road-4
Tuesday Road-5
Oh, yeah, at the bottom of that last 10% hill – was this curve –
Tuesday Road-6
But we made it – down those hills, and back up some others!
Tuesday Road-11
But ah, the beauty along the way!
Tuesday Road-7
That little formation was just outside the town of Mexican Hat. Get it? Mexican Hat!
Tuesday Road-8
And those mountains are actually called the Navajo Blanket Formation. How appropriate!
Tuesday Road-12
The good new here is that we arrived at a lovely campground in Blanding, Utah before we came to those snow capped mountains!

After we got settled in, and had a nice home-cooked dinner (no, really, I cooked!), we were treated to this wonderful end-of-day blessing.
Utah Sunset
God is so good to us!

Monday – wrapping up the Grand Canyon

We pulled out of our campground at the Grand Canyon on Monday morning, but there was still plenty to see in the GC. Since we were heading out the East Entrance there were still plenty of overlooks to take our breath away!
Grand Canyon East-1
Grand Canyon East-3
Grand Canyon East-4
We stopped at the Watchtower at the east end of the park. Although this tower looks like it’s been around for hundreds or years, it was built in 1932 by Fred Harvey in the early days of the park. There is a lot of information about the Native Americans that lived in the canyon, but it really started out as just a tourist gimmick.
Grand Canyon East-5
And the guys repointing the stone are definately NOT historic!
By the time we left the park we felt that with the exception of not doing any hiking IN the canyon, we really had “done” the Grand Canyon. What a great 2 1/2 days!
We took a little detour (leaving Lizzie in a friendly visitor center parking lot) south toward Flagstaff to check out a couple of other National Monuments.
Sunset Crater
This was a pretty recent volcano (like 800 years ago), and it was interesting just driving through the lava and ash fields.
Sunset Crater Natl Monument-1
Sunset Crater Natl Monument-2
Sunset Crater Natl Monument-3
The loop road that drove through the crater area took us right into
Wupatki National Monument where I enjoyed exploring some very well preserved pueblos.
Wupatki Natl Monument-3
Gary opted not to take the walk to the ruins, but cheered me on from his vantage point!
Wupatki Natl Monument-2
We covered a fair bit of road on Monday (counting our little side trip) – and as always, the scenery was as varied as it was beautiful!
Arizona Road
Arizona Road-1
Arizona Road-2
Arizona Road-3
That little community held our parking spot for the night – the back lot of a Burger King – and our fist glimps of Monument Valley – our major stop for Tuesday.
Stay tuned……