November 4-5, 2016
Monument Valley, AZ/UT
The Monument Valley Navajo Park wasn’t on our original must-see list, but we spent one night there because it was on our route. We reserved a spot at The View Campground which boasted the best sunset views, so we had high expectations. This was one of our first slightly disappointing experiences, though, because I we hadn’t realized ahead of time that our campground was located within the boundary of the Navajo Park. Our Interagency Park pass that gets us into all Nationally owned lands for free wasn’t accepted, so we had to pay $20 extra just to get to our campsite. Then as luck would have it, rain was on its way through the area, and since The View Campground is at the top of a plateau, the wind was INSANE. We could barely even open the door to the trailer without it blowing violently out of our hands. We also laughed at the fact that we had been concerned about needing a reservation..because we were the ONLY trailer at the campground! There were other tourists at the nearby hotel and cabins, but no other RVs. Ironically enough in this seemingly remote location, or maybe precisely because we were alone in the campground, the WIFI was amazing!! By far it was the best we’ve had anywhere since home. So Brad found a spot in the trailer to sit and work for awhile, I put the grateful girls in front of Netflix for the first time in ages, and I bundled up for a solo walk around the area.
Not only was the wind cold and intense, it also blew with each gust a small amount of sand and dirt up from the ever-eroding valley, so even though it was a dreary day I had to wear my sunglasses. Even inside the gift shop and Navajo Museum connected to the hotel, I could hear the wind howling at each closed door.
The rock monuments that rise up in unlikely patterns across the valley landscape are beautiful but menacing. Even though I would have preferred a clear sky, or at least one with just enough clouds to have a colorful sunset, seeing the formations in the severe wind made them seem maybe even more large and extreme and powerful. Even in the severe wind, it was a beautiful place.
One great thing about the location of our campsite was that we could enjoy the monuments from inside Stumbo, and so we had a warm dinner and a family game night while we watched the sun set change the landscape of rock giants out the window.
The next morning, not so much because we had a great desire to, but because we’d already had to pay the $20 entrance fee, we drove the 17 mile dirt road to tour through the valley floor.
I asked at the registration booth if we could leave our trailer parked at our campsite past check-out time so that we could drive the tour road. “Which camper?”, the office attendant asked.
“That one, ” I replied, as I pointed out the window at the lone RV.
He said yes.