Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Friday, September 13, 2019
|This altered map is from an original from gjhikes.com|
We spent several hours exploring the ruins and taking the short trail down to the San Juan River.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
During the spring and fall equinox, the shadow of one Mitten forms atop the second Mitten. It's a big deal and hundreds flock to the Valley to witness the event. Yes, even Roy and I have done it; along with a couple of friends, and it's really like a party atmosphere. Then we ride over to Goulding's Lodge, and the Stagecoach Dining Room, for a great meal.
The photos I'll be sharing were taken during the day and at sunset; sunny sky to cloudy. One photo of Eagle Rock-Eagle Mesa even has the hint of a rainbow after a short rain storm. While many of the monuments can be seen from Hwy. 163, I do advise to not be cheap. Either go into the Tribal Park itself and find a tour guide; or go to Goulding's Lodge and sign up for one of their 3 hour, or all day, tours. This way you will see monuments up close and personal that are not seen from the highway, ruins, rock art, and the way the Navajo people live in this area.
Sort of funny story time: I was working at the local visitor center and a woman from Belgium came in. She had visited Monument Valley and was quite disappointed. Why, you wonder? She had seen the Johnny Depp movie, The Lone Ranger, which had much of it filmed within Monument Valley. Here she was, on vacation, and nowhere could she see, "Where the Indians really lived". She complained that there were "real houses" down in the Valley, "Where were the teepees!?!" The people wore clothing like any other person, "Why weren't they in real Indian clothes; the men wearing loin cloths!?!"
I explained that the film was geared towards the late 19th century (1880s) to early 20th century. The Native Americans were just like anyone else...people. They lived in houses like anyone else; wore clothing like anyone else; they were like...anyone else. Unfortunately this didn't make her any happier as now she felt that she had watched a movie that, sort of, lied to her about the southwest. So there you have it folks, the USA, or parts of it, is perceived dependent on the film created by Hollywood.
When you go to Monument Valley, visit the museum at the Tribal Park's visitor center to get a true history lesson. Better yet, go on one of the tours led by residents of Monument Valley; get an up close and personal history lesson about the Navajo culture.
Oh, speaking of films, I am including a film that I took as we traveled to and through the Valley. Originally it was 13 minutes long, but hubby, who owns Desert Stone Studio , was able to cut it down to a more manageable length of time for viewing pleasure. Basically you'll get a gist of what you'll be seeing as you make the drive along Highway 163.
Enjoy the journey!
|Eagle Rock - Eagle Mesa, rainbow after rain storm|
|Eagle Rock - Eagle Mesa|
The Mittens and Merrick Butte - As Sunset Progresses Over a 10 Minute Span
|Sentinel Mesa and Big Indian Butte|
|Agathla Peak - Arizona side of Monument Valley, along Hwy. 163|
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Monday, September 9, 2019
River House Ruin is located near the San Juan River on the west side of Comb Ridge. The ruin has multiple one and two story rooms, granaries, a kiva, petroglyphs and pictographs.
• Location from Monticello is 58.6 miles; travel 50.7 miles south along Hwy 191, continue on Hwy 163 for 3.1 miles which goes through the Comb Ridge pass. ¼ of a mile, make the first left onto County Road 2351.
CR 2351 is part of the Hole in the Rock Pioneer Trail and the attempt to find a way over the Comb Ridge. The entire trail is mainly sand, crossing into and out of several dry washes, and climbing several steep hills for almost four miles. There are green wooden posts with a covered wagon painted on to mark the trail.
The first informational board is a short history of this section of the pioneer trail; the second will tell which way to go when encountering the first fork in the road; go left and follow the curve around the bushes. 4/10ths of a mile down is Navajo Spring; the pioneers sent out scouts to see if this was a viable way up and over Comb Ridge.
4 miles is another divide in the trail; the one to the right leads down to the San Juan River and ends. The trail left turns into pure stone; a series of uneven "steps" upward that leads to the San Juan Hill, Rincone Trading Post and River House Ruins trails.
• Total Mileage: 4 miles to the trailheads for River House Ruin, Rincone Trading Post and San Juan Hill.
• Total Mileage to River House Ruin is 4 miles.
• Difficulty: Easy for Hiking; Vehicle: 4-wheel drive with high clearance is a must; independent 4-wheel suspension is suggested for the uneven “steps” leading to the trailheads.
• Admission: Free
• Camping: Allowed; pack out what has been packed in.
• Pets: Allowed; owners are expected to clean up after pet (s).
• Facilities: None; nearest town (Bluff) is 12.4 miles.
Rincone Trading Post was established in 1880 by William Hyde, he later partnered up with the Bartons. Read the interesting history pertaining to the Rincone in the book, Comb Ridge and its People, by Robert S. McPherson.
• Location is two (2) miles along the trail to River House Ruin.
San Juan Hill is the location the pioneers finally chose to move their wagon train upward and over the Comb Ridge. Wagon wheel tracks and chiseled foot holds for animals can still be seen on this very steep, rocky trail.
• Location of trailhead is 1.5 miles along trail to River House Ruin.
Bring lots of water, snacks and a picnic; this is an all day excursion and worth every moment.
Sunday, September 8, 2019
|Horse Collar Ruin|
Those with walking restrictions, or using a wheelchair, can still enjoy this National Monument.
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Monument Valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 ft., framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding. The landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty but also by its size. Miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs, trees, and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley, surround the fragile pinnacles of rock. All of this harmoniously combines to make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience.
Friday, September 6, 2019
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Have to admit, at first I was for the proposed National Monument; I wanted to see more businesses develop, more housing, employment opportunities for all. However, I sort of went against it due to those, who didn't even live in San Juan County, trying to establish rules and regulations for the local residents. All the verbal fighting, busing in of protestors for and against, and they didn't even know what it was they were protesting about.
What really put a sour taste in my mouth is, being an informational guide, being challenged on my opinion of the National Monument. At that point I developed the "I don't care" stance. Asked whether I was for or against, my response was "I don't care", and stopped the conversation right then and there! Having polite discussion is one thing; attacking someone immediately on their opinion, before it's even stated, and the attacker doesn't even know why they're doing it...yeah, not polite at all.
So, if you're needing to see the Bears Ears themselves, here is how to find them. Once on SH 95, keep on driving west until you see the sign that says, "Natural Bridges/Bears Ears", make a right onto the roadway. It splits, left will take you to Natural Bridges; keep on going straight and up the side of the mesa you will go. Yes, left hand is paved. No, up the mesa way is unpaved; and if it's wet, especially after heavy rain and/or snow, chances are you will get stuck. This way will take you up to the Ears themselves, drive through them, and into the Manti-Lasal National Forest you will go. Now, do they look like ears when you're this close to them, nope, nada, nyet, nein; just two buttes with no similarity in shape.
Now back to where I first started this write up, Route 261. Once you see the sign for it, make a left hand turn, and this roadway is paved until you reach the junction for Muley Point or the Moki Dugway. But wait, don't keep driving all the way yet! Once you're on 261, go about 3 miles, pull over, stop the vehicle and get out; be careful of any other vehicles on the road. Now look back from where you came from, yes, I need to add this, look towards SH 95. Now you will see and understand why the Bears Ears are called the Bears Ears; imagination is a plus.
|The Bears Ears, looking northward from Route 261.|
|The Bears Ears, outlined ears, eyes and nose of the bear.|
|My hubby, Roy, doing some videography work of the Moki Dugway.|
Just taking a break, watching hubby do his video thing. Many times I have been asked to be an actual tour guide, but wherever I was working at the time wouldn't let me...liability insurance thing. I may not be with you in person, but I know my travel guide will get you to where you want to go.
|Valley of the Gods|
|The Great Serpent|
|Toad Stools along a ridge.|
Continuing on towards Monument Valley, you'll pass by Alhambra Rock.
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
- Location #1: The entrance is 69.1 miles southwest of Monticello. Travel 24.6 miles south on Hwy 191, through Blanding, to State Hwy 95, make a right onto 95; travel 28.4 miles to the start of UT Hwy 261-S. Make a left onto 261, travel 16.1 miles to the downward start of the Moki Dugway.
- Location #2: The entrance is 83.8 miles south of Monticello. Travel 50.7 miles south on Hwy 191, through Blanding and Bluff; continue south on US Hwy 163 for 16.6 miles. Make a right turn onto UT Hwy 261, travel 16.6 miles to the upward start of the Moki Dugway.
- Travel Time: 1 hour for the entire length of Utah Highway 261.
- Difficulty: Easy, this is a maintained dirt/gravel roadway accessible by passenger car/van/4-wheel drive/mountain bikes/motorcycles/dirt bikes.
- Hiking: Caution recommended due to vehicular travelers.
- RVs/Large Trucks and Semis/Towing of Trailers NOT allowed due to overhangs, sharp turns, switchbacks and blind corners
- Admission: Free
- Facilities – None; nearest town is Mexican Hat (10.6 miles south) or Bluff (27.6 miles north).
- Camping – Not Allowed
- Pets – Must remain in vehicles
Personally, we enjoy going down the Moki Dugway as both driver and passengers can get access to the views. Coming up, passengers tend to get a view of the rock walls, while the driver is constantly looking upward at the roadway.
Sunday, September 1, 2019
We have sat on the slickrock ledges, eaten a picnic lunch, and simply enjoyed the scenery. Try it, you might just be amazed at how easily the stress of the world melts away.