I almost feel that maybe Monument Valley was the core of our American Road Trip. With Wes turning 40 a few weeks before we left, the holiday was centred around his Birthday and the want to ride it out Cowboy style Horseback riding, which is what we did, (although maybe without the styling it out). I am not sure there is a more apt place to do it but the dusty, red and stunningly beautiful terrain of the Wild West, but alas, there were a few adventures to seek before we arrived in Monument Valley.
So onwards from Utah we drove, just a short 3 & 1/2 hours drive from Under Canvas Zion, we dipped back into Arizona State for a stop off at Lake Powell, on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona. The water so calm and so still, so blue in complete contrast with the red rocky peaks standing behind, it almost looked like a painting. With a drive over the Glen Canyon Dam in Page, we headed to the thrilling and terrifying in equal measures Horse Shoe Bend. Trecked the half hour walk in the baking heat, to the rim of the cliff, unfenced, the 1.100 foot sheer drop down view of the blue and green river below. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty terrified, I managed to crawl on my knees to get a photo, but if I’m honest I didn’t look, I just held my phone over with my eyes tight shut, nothing like seeing your holiday through your phone! I did feel a bit of a wuss, when I watched others clamber down to lower peaks for selfies, wuss or not stupid, you choose? It really was spectacular, if a little mad!
…And then onwards to Monument Valley, once again back on the flat, winding roads with the red rocky peaks, the rusty empty sandy desert, the roads becoming dustier by the minute. Then finally the first sight of the red isolated formations, perhaps the most eternal image of the American West in existence, there in front of us, completely spine tingling, breathtaking and at a loss for words. Welcome to the Wild West!
We stayed at The View Hotel in a little cabin, decorated in Old West decor, with the most spectacular uninterrupted view of the famous sandstone monuments. We sat on our deck, wishing we owned a pair of cowboy boots each, as the sky was turning pink, to orange and finally dark blue and tried to remember every glimpse and every second of that sunset in Monument Valley, as well as feeling as we were in a John Wayne Western or for me Back To The Future Part III.
Waking early for the unmissable and unforgettable sunrise, we were quietly joined by two beautiful white Mustangs, standing just metres from us under the morning sun rays, a pretty magical way to start our day. We took a drive, passing the many Dream Catcher and Native American jewellery stands, perched on the edge of the road, stopping to buy pieces of hand made jewellery and as many Dream Catchers as I could, before reaching Forest Gump point, and turning back to take in the view. Before of course running in and out of the middle of the road for ‘That Picture’ completely worth it, honest!
As the sun started to go down and a slight chill filled the air, we happily met our Mustangs mine named Sky and Wes’ named Copper, deep in the The Navajo Tribal Park. Although you can appreciate the landscape of the Navajo from the main roads, there is so much more to see and take in by heading into the park. I am not sure we will ever forget the excitement, the calm, the quiet, and just the sounds of the horses footsteps, and the fact that we were incredibly close, touch-ably close, to these stunning monuments. These spiritual monuments that have been standing for years and years, the history, the bygones and the whispers in the wind. Completely bewitching, a pinch yourself moment in that we got to see and feel all of this on horseback.
Galloping through the desert as the sun set for the day, was not only one of the most exhilarating and inspiriting moments of my life but so wonderfully separate to anything else before… Perhaps we were caught in a dream, an unforgettable dream!
….to be continued!
Thank you for reading x