Monument Valley and National Bridges NP

Published: April 30th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

I had two very interesting days. Yesterday I got stuck in a sand storm just outside of Moab and had to slow down to about 20 mph for 1 hour. My hands were so cramped up from holding the steering wheel I can still feel the plastic mold under my fingernails. The wind was so strong (the little van was chucked about from one side to the other) and the visibility so bad that I started to get very stressed and scared, especially when I saw an electrical storm behind all that sand. That’s when I decided to hide in a hotel in Bluff, right next to the twin towers, as they call this rock formation. I totally scored here and I will include a photo of the rustic, Navajo Nation owned cabin I rented for the day. Indian, hand woven rugs on the wall, a quilted bed blanket – the works. And free HBO while it started to rain and the sand creeping through the door. Actually really cool. I kept on peeking outside and could only see red dust and red rain on the front porch. I finally had a hot shower for the first time in ages and bunkered down, ready to stay for a few days. I love camping, but when the weather is crap I do enjoy a hotel instead. Besides, I went for dinner at a Navajo restaurant with frybread, nachos and burgers. Yummy.

Since the weather turned out ok the next morning, I decided to drive to Monument Valley, a place I wanted to visit for decades. It is world famous for its unusual rocks, right inside the Navajo Reservation of Utah, and most of you will recognise it from old Hollywood western movies or ‘Forrest Gump’, when he decided to turn around after just running from one end of the US to the other (I think). One is not allowed to walk around willy-nilly, only licenced tour operators can take you inside the reservation on horse back or Jeeps. Since I’m not really into tours I went to have a look at some street vendors selling handmade jewellery and rugs (I wanted to buy myself an original hand woven Navajo rug, but they are so bloody expensive. Thousands for the one I had in mind!!!) and drove to the National Bridges NP, an internationally acclaimed star watching site. Apparently, this park is so dark by night (in the middle of nowhere) one can see the stars most exquisitely. I arrived a bit late and the park’s campground was already full, so the nice Park Ranger told me where I can do backcountry camping for free and here I am. It is so quiet around here that I can hear the birds swooshing past me. I think they are some sort of swallow, the typical wing shape would suggest so. They keep on playing with each other and bombing down to the car – clearly it’s springtime and everyone seems so happy that it is finally warming up again. The ranger also told me about bobcats, bears, mountain lions and coyotes around here, but he said that they would avoid me and I will most likely only hear the coyotes. Although I love to watch the wildlife, I prefer it if they stay away, especially when I have to go for a wee in the middle of the night. Can you imagine? That’ll freak me out.

Additional photos below
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