Monument Valley Tribal Park, UT

The Old West

Heading northwest I decide to stop at Monument Valley, UT.  What a beautiful place!!!  It reminds me of cowboy movies and the old west.  It is nothing like I had ever seen before.  I was disappointed that I could not use my geezer card for free entrance to the park, but it is not really a National Park but a Navajo National Tribal Park.  The fee was only $5 so couldn’t really complain given the spectacular view I was to see.

You can camp on a primitive camp site for $10 per night with no hook-ups.  It is on a bluff overlooking all the fabulous scenery.  Here are a couple of views of my newest back yard today.  Whoa Nelly!!!!

Big bucks for tours!

I checked out the Visitor’s Center and it was very nice and educational about the area as well.  The balcony offers you a great panorama of the valley and looks down on the road used for the tour.  I signed up for one night’s stay in the primitive camping area and asked about the canyon tours.  She couldn’t give me any information because the tours were run by private companies.  I then went down to the tour booth and the girl there was very helpful in explaining the costs and what you see.  It is $65 for the normal tour that lasts about 1 1/2 hours and $75 for the extended tour that takes you farther into the canyon and lasts for 2 1/2 hours.  She did mention that they had improved the road and that I could probably drive the tour in my RV.  Since it was late I decided to put off taking the tour.  More on that later.

I went back to The Breeze where I enjoyed a glass of wine while taking in the fabulous scenery.  I even got a few pics of the sunset.

Rain, rain go away!!!

The next day I checked the weather forecast which didn’t look too good.  They were predicting isolated thunder storms throughout the day.  I looked out and there were lots of storm clouds but it looked like they were passing over.

I am ready to spend the BIG BUCKS on the tour..or am I?

After talking to a group of Australians camped nearby I decided not to drive The Breeze on the free Self Guided Tour of the Canyon.  They said the route was quite bumpy so by then I had decided to fork over the $75 (OUCH!) and take the 2 1/2 hour tour.  I went over to sign up but found out they wouldn’t accept credit cards.  WHAT!! The lady yesterday was taking them!  They did tell me there was another tour group that would accept credit cards but weren’t sure when they were going to be there.  FORGET IT!!  I decided that I will definitely  be back in this area and would take the tour then.

Decided on the FREEBIE Wildcat Trail hike instead..

In the meantime I had decided I would take the Wildcat Trail.  It is a 3.3 mile trail that circles the West Mitten Butte.  The best part of it was that it is FREE!  There were just a few clouds in the sky so I decided it would be a great way to spend the day.  The following are a few pics of the trail.

The West Mitten Butte.

The Merrick Butte.

The East Mitten Butte.

The backside of the West Mitten Butte.

Caught in a thunder-storm.  YIKES!!

As you can see from the last pic, the clouds are starting to come my way.  OH NO!!  I have at least a mile to go.  I could see rain way off in the distance.  Then I heard huge claps of thunder and even saw lightning.  I then started to put my legs in gear trying to make it back before the storm caught up with me.  I wasn’t too worried about getting wet but the lightning scared the HEEBIE JEEBIES out of me.  When I heard a clap of thunder I would kneel to the ground hoping the lightning wouldn’t come anywhere near me.  I must have been a sight for sore eyes.  The bummer was that the most difficult part of the trail lay ahead of me as I had to hike uphill to get back to The Breeze.  I finally made it although I was quite wet at the end.  Here are a couple of pics taken during and after the storm.

I was even treated to a beautiful rainbow over the Sentinel Mesa.

After drying off I decided that was enough Monument Valley for me and decided to hit the road where I traveled to Page, AZ.  Only one more stop after this and I will be in Fernley, NV.  Monument Valley is a beautiful place and is like the true southwest.  Just like it was portrayed in so many westerns.