Monument Valley, Antelope Valley & Lake Powell
Aaannnnd continuing …….
After a very nice couple of days at Mesa Verde we were off again this time heading to Monument Valley. On our way, our en route stop was at the Four Corners Monument and, lo and behold, who should show up while we were waiting in line to get our picture at the intersection of CO, AZ, NM, & UT …. Carla and Dave! Now we really did not plan any of this, we were just on the same trajectory, with the intention of going to the same attractions. After they kindly took our photo, we had another short visit and wished them well on the rest of their journey!
After our obligatory photo on the intersection, we headed on to Monument Valley and the Gouldings RV Park. This remote area in the middle of the Navajo Nation has a fascinating history, not only as the ancient sacred land of the Navajos, but also as a Hollywood film set. It was a particular favorite of John Wayne movies. After getting settled in and attending another social, once again, we snuck away from the tour group for a quiet dinner and then took a tour of the Goulding’s Historical Museum. The next day we had a cool tour of the area by Jeep. Goulding’s Jeep Tours takes you deep into the valley to see, not only the beautiful formations, but also to get a glimpse of Navajo life.
After the Jeep tour we had to rush back to the coach to cook the chili for that night’s pot luck dinner and bingo. At least this time Joanna had something she could eat at the get together and she even won a chip clip at bingo! Since we only had two nights in the Valley we also had to have the obligatory travel brief. By this time we had pretty much stopped listen and were researching the routes on our own.
Next we were off to Lake Powell and the Wahweap Campground. We were even more rushed to get to this next stop as there was a scheduled tour that afternoon. Our tight window of when we could arrive got even smaller and even when we did arrive at the appointed time we, along with all of the other caravaners, ended up waiting in a parking lot outside the campground for the WM to get ready for us. We finally got in, did a quick set up and headed into town for the tour. The Upper Antelope Canyon Jeep Tour ended up being well worth all of our efforts! Though this was not originally on the tour, and it was one of the many schedule changes, we think it might have been the most outstanding place we visited the entire trip!
The Antelope Canyon is one of many slot canyons throughout the desert southwest. Though extremely dangerous during even the smallest rainstorm, walking between the magnificently carved walls on a sunny day is not to be missed. We were amazed by the guides comments about how the floor of the canyon changes drastically in height, both up and down, on a daily basis. We were mesmerized by the walls of the canyon, watching the astonishing color patterns that change with the changing rays of the sun. We could have spent so much more time here, it was simply breathtaking!
After the tour we had dinner with another couple, Richard and Kathy, really our first “on our own” social interactions. It was now 3 weeks in and nearly the end of the trip but we finally felt we had connected with at least one other couple on the caravan.
The next morning was the Lake Powell Boat Cruise and we woke to a quite rainy and windy day but we were hopeful that the weather would clear by the time we got to Rainbow Bridge Arch. As fortune would have it, we all got seats inside the cabin (some poor souls were stuck on the upper deck) for the rainy 50 mile boat ride across Lake Powell. The rains quit just as we got to the dock at the canyon opening so we were able to stay dry as we hiked back up into the canyon to find Rainbow Arch. Though Native Americans had know of the existence of the Arch for millennia, it was not until Louisa Wetherill, after hearing stories of it from Indians in the early 1900’s, convinced her husband to conduct an expedition to the area. The Indians have always considered this site to be sacred and request that you do not walk under the arch so we climbed the trail leading all the way around the structure.
As the rains continued to hold off during the afternoon we chose seats on the upper deck for the ride back and we were able to get a little video of the lake and surrounding area.
The tour boat makes one other stop on the way back at the Dangling Rope Marina. This marina is only accessible by boat and the tour company delivers their mail daily!
And you guessed it, as we were traveling the next day we ended the evening with a social and travel brief!
Next up the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Cape Verde.
Till then ….