Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Hi Ho Silver

Monument Valley, Arizona

When you see the Mittens at Monument Valley, you think of Western Movies. Actors like John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Tom Hanks worked here. Movies such as Stage Coach, the Lone Ranger, Forrest Gump, Easy Rider, How the West was Won were made here.

Monument Valley was under the Gulf of Mexico 570 million years ago. It started it’s life 65 million years ago as the Pacific and North American tetonic plates off the coast of California collided sending shockwaves to the east. Erosion by water, wind and ice has chiseled the rock formations over thousands of years into what they are today.

Showing the road around the buttes

There is a 17-mile valley drive which can be undertaken between 8am and 5pm October to April in winter when sunrise is between and 6am-8.30pm May to September in summer. Sunrise and sunset never occur within these times anytime throughout the year, which makes it very difficult to get a good photograph. We went back to the drive at 10 to 5, so that we would be through the gates before they shut, but they didn't shut them that night as we found out on the way out.

the Mittens

The day we arrived there were 40 mile winds and considering the whole area is fine red sand, it made a very unpleasant experience. The dust storms caused fatal car crashes in other states. The sun is on the Mittens in the afternoon. At sunrise you get a colourful sky, but the Mittens are in silhouette.

You have three main options for camping in an RV. Two are outside the park, so you need to take into consideration the $20 entry fee if you want to do a night then a morning. Or the campground owned by the View Hotel. Dry camping for $41.95 a night for two people (winter rate) which apparently goes up in summer. Way over priced but you are in the park which makes it easier to make multiple trips. On the upside, you get a fantastic view of the Mittens outside the back window and the showers are wonderful. The free wifi didn't reach our trailer and our Verizon was very slow.

This is Navajo land, so while parks passes don't apply, daylight saving time does - which is very important for knowing sunrise and sunset times!

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