American Adventures

Embracing Spirits & Thunderstorms in Monument Valley.

Grand Canyon, Arizona → Monument Valley, Arizona/Utah: 3hrs 4mins – 177miles

After driving for 3 hours on empty stomachs (we grazed on a cold cut sandwich and a protein bar each during our G.C hike) from the Grand Canyon, we decided to stop at Burger King to replace the calories and set up camp at a site we came across. We didn’t know where the hell we were but we were so tired, we went straight to sleep. In our hiking clothes. No showers. The joys of camping. But it was all so worth it when we got up in the morning and I was speechless when I saw where we actually were…

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The view that hit me when I got up that morning!

WE ONLY CAMPED RIGHT NEXT TO LAKE POWELL!!!!

On high spirits, we headed towards Monument Valley but not before a pit-stop to Horseshoe Bend. I first knew about this place when I was an insecure, messed up teenager watching the Britney Spears music video for ‘I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman” and loved it purely for the place where she was – Horseshoe Bend. I put it on the bucket list there and then and when we got there, it did not disappoint.

The sun was so strong! Stupidly left my sunglasses in the car…

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Looking down, we could just make out people camping by the river. One for the bucket list!

From Horseshoe Bend, we made the 2 hour journey to MONUMENT VALLEY! I first visited this place two years ago and was so overwhelmed by the beauty and the experience that this place offered, it made me cry whilst I slept under the stars with the Navajo Indian Tribes after eating and dancing with them all night. So it was amazing to return to my favourite place in the US and share it with these guys. One thing I will say about Monument Valley is that it is so under-rated and should be on everybody’s USA Road-trip Bucket List. Include it on your list. Now!

We wanted to camp within Monument Valley National Park so we forked out $40 to stay at Goulding’s Campground which I later found out is a prominent part of Monument Valley’s fascinating history. The ground is named after Harry Goulding who was linked to John Ford and they had stayed in that particular area when filming their western movies. It is also very much linked to M.V’s spiritual side as the campsite is rumoured to be haunted by spirits and skin-walkers! Thanks for the article Dad!

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Our view of the valley from our campsite!

We headed straight into the valley to explore before sunset. Unfortunately, as Monument Valley is on Navajo Indian land, they do not accept the National Park pass and we had to pay $20 to enter. They offer jeep tours in the valley, led by Navajo Indians themselves, which I did previously and thoroughly enjoyed but there was something equally as thrilling as the idea of driving through the valley ourselves in the car – and it’s free! So the car was coming with us! And I was determined to take over the driving. This was a big deal for me!

So we drove through the valley and took time and pictures by the famous monuments. Each monument has its own name and history attached to it which I won’t bore you with. I’m sure if you were that interested, you would’ve looked it up already.

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Picture by the ‘Mitte’ rocks and the ‘Butte’ rock – which is also featured in the Metallica music video for ‘Invisible’
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John Ford Point – the iconic western movie screenshot. Spent a lot of time at this point. My favourite.

We also came across some ‘Hogans’ which are traditional Navajo Indian homes which they used to live in and still do in some parts of the valley. They were two different types – a male Hogan which is a cone shape and serves a purpose as a temporary home whilst a family waits for their permanent home to be built especially for them which is called a female Hogan which is a round oval shape. Jeez, I can be such a history geek sometimes…

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Revelling in history geekiness inside a female Hogan.

We wanted to catch the sunset over the valley but Kevanos – the god of storm obviously wanted to show himself to us again as we watched the lightening bolts crackling between the monuments showcasing them in a completely different light. Just wow.

Once again, we woke up the next morning to more incredible views and wanted to drive through the valley once again without being caught up in thunderstorms! This time, Jon drove the car while Karolina, Cody and I took turns to sit outside the car to take in the whole atmosphere of this place. When taking the car into M.V, there is a specific trail you follow which is 17 miles long and can take between 1-2 hours depending on whether you stop, etc. Well we exceeded that the day before (4 hours…) but didn’t stop the second time round and it took about an hour like stated.

Monument Valley. This is my place.

 

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Feeling Spiritual…

 

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Who needs sunroofs?!

 

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