Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Monument Valley

This morning, we had breakfast at the cafe and walked to the San Juan river. 

A quick jaunt down the highway brought us to Monument Valley. 

It is a Navajo Nation park and only $20 a car.  With the exception of the 3 iconic spires, you can drive all through the park.  It was $20 well spent.  We spent hours there and it was needed.  With as spacious as the park is, I never felt over crowded.  I did marvel at how rushed the international tourists were.  Why would you speed through something as magnificent as Monument Valley? 

Yesterday my mom fussed at me for standing at the edge.  Today, a little old French man fussed at me.  I didn't understand a word he was saying, but panic is international.  

Look closely, horseback riders.

Mike was telling my dad about a plane crash site he found.

I handed Mike the camera.  He asked why.  I said because I'm about to piss you off and proceeded to jump on a boulder.
We loaded back into the truck and made our way back to the visitors center.

It was a wonderful short trip.  The painted desert will always be my favorite.  Can't wait to go back. Next time, I think we'll drag Mike's parents along. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

My Happiest Place on Earth

No, not Disney.  Valley of the Gods.

My parents are in town for their annual trip to Arizona.  New Jersey is gloomy and cold, so the bright sun and warm weather is just what the doctor ordered.  They wanted to go exploring.  What better than to take them to Monument Valley?  To walk in the footsteps of John Wayne.  They were pumped. 

Pit Stop: Elephant Feet

Since it is 6 hours away, we decided to overnight.  We hit the state line, buzzed into Utah and waved at Monument Valley midafternoon. 

We decided to bypass it today and head to Mexican Hat for the afternoon/night.  We dropped the bags at the hotel and made our way Goosenecks State Park.  All the times we've been through here and we've never stopped. 

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This photo encapsulates the day: my mom panicked because my dad (and I) would stand too close to the edge. 
It was midday which meant horrible lighting.  But it was still a sight to see.  A small fee paid and well worth it. 

We were famished.  Exploration was put on hold for dinner at the Swinging Grill.  We eat here every time we come through Mexican Hat.  Yes, its a bit pricey.  But the steak is always tender and cooked to perfection and you can't beat a hunk of cow cooked over a wood flame.  It's a must. 

Afterwards it was onwards to my favorite place on earth: Valley of the Gods.  Mike and I came through here on our honeymoon, again the following year, and again the year after that. It has been a few since we've been and I love it all the same.  Quite apropos that our 6 year anniversary is next week. 

Click To Enlarge!
We stopped a lot.  We got out, stretched our legs and took it all in.  The weather was perfect, mid-seventies and clear. And it was quiet.  Yes we saw a few fellow adventurers but it was silent out there.  
Click to Enlarge!


The sun was setting fast and we wanted to get to Muley Point before it was below the horizon.  We zoomed up the Moki Dugway and landed at the point just as the sun was setting.  A bit later than I desired but I still gave Mike a heart attack by scaling the rocks towards the edge.  

It was a busy day but it was a great day.  The temperature was dropping and we descended the dugway long after dark.  Minutes later we were back in Mexican Hat and soon tucked into our hotel. I'm thrilled to have been able to share this place with my parents.    

Friday, April 1, 2016

There are No April Showers

Spring has sprung.  The days are very warm, but the nights are still nice and cool.  I'll take it.  If it would only stay this way all year.  

April showers bring may flowers.  Unless you live in the desert.  We haven't had rain in forever.  I can't remember the last time it rained, actually.  But life goes on and the birds come back and plants still bloom.

My yard has been blooming for weeks.  The citrus trees have bloomed and dropped their flowers already.  Likewise with the creosote.  Right now, the cactus are sprouting pink flowers.  And the bees and hummingbirds are in heaven. 

This little dude loves my mesquite trees.  He and his buddies zoom around them all afternoon.  I think they offer safety and camouflage.  He sat for quite a while and preened. 

My pencil cactus has started to bloom vibrant pink flowers. 

My yard is very popular with a nearby hive of bees.  They stop for water daily at my koi ponds, and pollinate every plant.  They could case less about my presence.  I've cleaned the koi ponds while they drink and have trimmed bushes next to the orange tree they were fervently pollinating. 

They are always welcome in my yard.  I'm more than happy to have a healthy hive nearby, even if they photobomb my flower shots.