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!)
See that alcove in the rocks? Where all the shade is?
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?
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.
And a final panorama –
(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!
(catch the 6% grade sign? Keep your eye on those signs!)
Oh, yeah, at the bottom of that last 10% hill – was this curve –
But we made it – down those hills, and back up some others!
But ah, the beauty along the way!
That little formation was just outside the town of Mexican Hat. Get it? Mexican Hat!
And those mountains are actually called the Navajo Blanket Formation. How appropriate!
The good new here is that we arrived at a lovely campground in Blanding, Utah before we came to those snow capped mountains!