The above picture is my work space for tonight…our private terrace at The View Hotel, in Monument Valley, Navajo Tribal Park. We are in room 213, overlooking the legendary valley where great John Ford movies such as Stagecoach were filmed. The monument Valley Tribal Park is over 91,000 acres of the of the over 29,000 mile Navajo Reservation. It’s a place that John Wayne called, “God’s Treasure”. Were we not on the Navajo Reservation, we would be just on the Arizona side of the Utah/Arizona border, in the Northeastern corner of the state.
We woke this morning in our Grand Canyon Cabin a little after 6:15, having hit the hay very early last night. If you remember yesterday’s post, we were up early for sunrise, then took the tour, and explored the rim trail, before heading back to the cabin. We had early cocktails last night on the rim, before heading into the Bright Angel Restaurant for dinner about 5:30. To be totally honest, we were pooped! Between not having a great night’s sleep, getting up early for sunrise, taking the tour, and then walking the trail when we got back, we were ready for an early night. We watched a little TV, worked on editing some pictures, and about 9:30 we headed to bed!
So after checking out, we headed towards the Eastern Entrance of the park. That took us on the Desert View Drive, and after stopping at several view points that we had not previously visited, and taking some more pictures, we exited the park.
Almost as soon as we exited the Grand Canyon National Park, we were on the Navajo Reservation. We expected the same kind of built up area we’d seen going into the Canyon via the South Entrance on Wednesday (multiple hotels, fast food restaurants, etc), but coming out of the East Entrance, there was none of that. It was a very desolate road, and we drove probably 50 miles before saw our first gas station. We really didn’t need much gas, but figuring I didn’t know what was ahead, I topped off the tank. At the same time, we stopped in a brand new Burger King and had a couple of Chicken Sandwiches.
It was early when we got to the entrance of the Navajo Tribal Park, so we kept going on US 163 for 13 miles, to check out something I’d read about online. If you remember the movie Forest Gump, you remember the scene where after running around the country, he suddenly decides he has done enough, and stops. That scene was filmed at mile marker 13, on the Utah side on US 163, and we took the trip to see what it looked like. Unfortunately, they were doing road construction, and there are highway cones all over the road, but we did the best we could. Take a look at some of our first views of Monument Valley.
Then we headed back to Monument Valley, and checked into The View Hotel. To be able to sit here and overlook this incredible sight is just mind boggling. We have seen this view in so many great movies over the years, and to be sitting on this terrace looking out at them is unbelievable! We are looking forward to sunset tonight, and what the changing rays do to this magical valley!
We just had dinner in The View Restaurant, and then went back to the Trading Post, where Susie earlier had briefly looked at some Navajo jewelry. They had a sign on the counter that there was 40% off marked price, and as guests at The View Hotel, we got another 10% off, and had a $20 gift certificate. The lady helped Susie pick out a necklace and earring set that she liked, and then went to work with her calculator. I swear, she must have done computations for close to 2 minutes, before she turned the calculator to Susie and said, “this is what it would come out to be”. $1096 is what the calculator said, Susie said she’d have to think about it, which meant she wasn’t getting a Navajo necklace! Oh well, perhaps on Ebay!
It’s quiet and still now, as we sit on our terrace and wait for the sun to set at 7:25, and see how it changes the face of the valley. The $258 the room cost for the night, was well worth it for this view of the valley. We are both looking forward to tonight’s sunset, followed by the full moon rising over the valley, tomorrow’s sunrise, and then our Navajo Spirit Back Country Tour. Right now, we are looking at the last of the folks self driving their cars on the 17 mile unpaved Valley Tour Road. After the Sonata has faithfully taken us close to 6,000 miles already, and probably has 3,000 or more to go till we get back to Long Island, there was no way we were going to subject her to that. No, we will let the professional Navaho guide take us tomorrow. We may be dirty when we’re done, but the Sonata will leave the valley in one piece!
I’ll finish today’s blog with some pictures of the sunset and hopefully the moonrise, and give you a full report in tomorrow’s blog about our morning tour!