The night of Monday (16th) proved to be cold! I ended up sleeping in my duvet jacket as I much prefer a duvet to a blanket.
The plan for Tuesday (17th) was Canyon de Chelly followed by a drive to Monument Valley to arrive before sunset.
The morning was glorious, although very cold – the duvet jacket was pressed into service again!
We first visited the National Park Offices, and looked around the exhibition, which was very interesting. We decided to do the northern part first and then the southern part (as that worked best for lighting for photographs).
The first part of the tour was through ‘normal’ land, with dotted Navajo homesteads. Then a glimpse of red canyon was spotted. We turned off the main road onto as side road towards the Antelope House Overlook. We were following another car. We were horrified to see some litter being thrown from the car window onto the side of the road. We initially thought it was a tourist, but the car turned into a homestead. It appeared that the driver thought it was OK as they lived there. Unfortunately as the day wore on we noticed that this was not an isolated incident, there was a huge amount of litter, particularly cans and glass. How sad that the local people have such little respect for their beautiful surroundings.
When we got to the lookout car park there were just 2 cars – the advantage of being out of season and early in the morning. We walked to the lookout across rocks and only saw 4 people in total. That added to the atmosphere. The views were fantastic, with lovely colours and amazing rock formations.
The evidence of early habitation could be seen. This is Antelope House.
Mike took lots of photos
And I took a few too!
This is Spider Rock in the southern part of the canyon.
As well as interesting rock formations the growth on the rocks was very interesting and pretty too.
From Canyon de Chelly we headed north to Monument Valley. Parts of the journey would have been considered spectacular in any other area, but with the bar set quite so high we travelled through without stopping (except for Burger King for lunch – choice was lacking and they had free wifi!)
The view approaching Monument Valley looked like something from Lord of the Rings.
We entered the Park and checked into the very comfortable View Hotel. The hotel is owned by a local Navajo and run respecting the Navajo traditions and culture. It offers employment to a significant number of local people. The view from our balcony was to die for!
We ate in the restaurant, trying the local taster menu, which was very good.
The sky was sparkly clear and so, we got the scopes and camera out The balcony gave a good, although restricted, view out into the darkness of the Valley. I decided to wander out around the hotel to get a full sky effect. The winter Milky Way was on show, although a little disappointingly the hotel was rather too well lit at the back for the full effect to be seen. So the scope stayed on the balcony and I cruised around the southern skies taking in some old favourites (Orion etc) as well as exploring sights too low from home (Monument Valley is at 35 degrees North compared with 53 at home). I bagged a few new Messiers The only disappointed was that Omega Centauri wasn’t visible due to a hill (I waited until 2am to see if I would be able to catch a glimpse…). At that point I called it a night –it had been fun!by