In some respects, we were incredibly lucky. True, two of our three days in Utah’s Monument Valley were completely blown away by dust storms. And on our fourth day those same gusty winds threatened to force us off the road as we tried to escape the wicked weather. But that second day, the day we arranged an off road tour of the Valley? That day was perfect.
We arose well before sunup to get the first tour of the morning. Our only complaint is that we didn’t get up even earlier. We couldn’t have known that this would be our only clear day in the Valley, and our only chance to photograph the monuments as they emerged from night’s inky blackness into beautiful blue silhouettes of dawn.
We saw them briefly in that light as we pulled into our appointed pick-up spot but had no time for photos. Our jeep was waiting and a bit impatiently too.
Through the meager morning light, our driver navigated us around divots and bounced us over boulders before arriving at a desert plateau just in time to watch the sun crest over the horizon. As we watched, we also learned.
The coming of each new day parallels the ancient Navajo creation legend. It is believed that First Man traveled through four worlds, each a different color–black, blue, yellow and white–before finally settling in this world. As we watched the sun banish the nighttime darkness, it changed the colors of our world in exactly the same way. The birth of each new day, a daily reminder of the start of all things.
With the sun now just above the horizon, we set out again and bounced our way to colorfully named formations like Artist’s Point (above), The Three Nuns, Sleeping Dragon Rock, Big Chief Monument as well as these . . .
Eye of the Sun
We’re told Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark shot its famous “Snake Pit Scene” at Big Hogan, although we saw neither snakes nor the Ark of the Covenant there. Nor did we see the movie’s less famous R2D2 hieroglyphic (on the post to Hans Solo’s, um, I mean Indiana Jones’ right in the linked photo).
We did, however, see petroglyphs of non-robotic criters all through the Valley.
The weather held out long enough for us to complete our tour under beautiful blue skies. It was a short reprieve, though. Soon the wind kicked up a gale and drove us back inside again. But not before we had a magnificent morning in Monument Valley.