Monument Valley

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July 18th 2012
Published: July 24th 2012
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Next morning found us bright and early cruising down the road by 7am. The air was crisp and cool and the sun was just coming up but we knew within another hour it would be beating down on us mercilessly. Yesterday we'd seen temperatures recorded as 101 degrees F at around 6.30pm.

Monument Valley National Park 'where the Earth meets the sky' was our destination.

The park had only just opened for the day and we were one of the first cars to arrive. We checked out the map included with the guide then set off along the trail, the monoliths were lit up casting strange colours in the morning light, as the sun rose higher in the sky the darker shaddowy colours turned to rich red and orange shades, a sharp contrast to the ever deepening blue sky above us.

The first section was a steep, rocky, twisty road that threatened to send us slithering sideways with one false move, we waited for vehicles coming up the slope to pass before attempting to go down, fortunately as it was so early there weren't many around and we arrived at the bottom without a mishap. From this point on the trail formed a loop so the traffic was all going the same way which made things a lot easier. We stopped time and again and jumped out to take photographs.

The valley was created by natural forces that still continue to shape the land today. The changes occur slowly with time through thousands of years. Endless erosion by water, wind and ice over millions of years chiseled rock formations into the unique shapes of Monument Valley. Loose pebbles act as pedestals and the towering formations are made up of hardenned sandstone that's topped with a thin, hard layer of mountain sediments that act like an egg shell keeping the softer rocks together.

Standing at the foot of a monolith you feel dwarfed and it makes you realise just how big the formations are and what a strange twist of nature it was that created them.

By the time we were leaving the park the tour companies were zipping around at great speed sending clouds of red dust into the air making driving conditions a challenge. Especially so on the last section that was also the first section meaning timing your assent correctly was essential to avoid having to stop on a steep slope or sliding in the loose sand to narrowly miss an oncoming vehicle!

Our next mission was to find a much needed coffee, all that dust sure makes your throat dry!

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