Nina (wheelingit.wordpress.com) once said of similar scenery that it made her feel "privileged and insignificant" at the same time. We get that, we really get that.
We were advised that driving through the Valley of the Gods was something we MUST do. People said it was like being in the middle of Monument Valley but on a more intimate level. That's where we started Easter day.
|through the cut|
We drove through the cut in Comb Ridge and turned off the highway onto a well graded dirt and gravel road and into the Valley of the Gods.
The 17 mile drive crossed a few washes, some dry, some wet. We saw very few people on our trek. A couple bicyclists and one annoying driver hurrying from pull off to pull off to get the perfect photograph with his huge tripod and camera.
|the Seven Sailors|
He didn't stay with us long and we really had the rest of the drive to ourselves.
|setting hen butte|
Many of these monoliths have been given local names. We had a rudimentary map with us and we were able to identify the first few by name. Seven Sailors,
setting hen butte, but soon put the map down and just marveled at the sights and immersed ourselves in the experience.
|see tiny Dave near the fallen rock?|
We got out and hiked into some of the formations for a closer look here and there. After a while Dave spotted the perfect place for our lunch.
|see him calling me to bring the lunch up to him?|
|perfect seat for lunch with a view|
As we sat eating lunch we noticed the small things all around us. A little bird was singing its heart out on a rock not too very far away. By the time I got my binoculars up and focused she'd flown away. The sun was warm on our shoulders, but a cold wind was nipping our ears.
|a spot of yellow just below my rock seat|
|glowing in the shade|
After lunch we continued our loop. The clouds were starting to move in providing a beautiful backdrop to the sandstone formations around us.
I won't bore you with the rest of the hundred or so pictures I have of these red rocks. Needless to say we were mesmerized by the Valley of the Gods.
When we finally finished our exploration of the Valley, we made a couple other stops before on our way home. One of them was to the nearby Goosenecks State Park. There were no signs warning of cattle on the road leading into the park, but we've learned to be cautious when rounding corners or cresting hills.
I'd seen pictures of this park before, we know people who've camped on the very edge, but I wasn't fully prepared for the sight of it. The silty San Juan river snaking 1000 feet below us blew me away, literally and figuratively. Strong winds blow up from the water in the afternoons. We could see people rafting the river far below.
I'm proud to tell you that I took the picture, myself. Usually I have to hand the camera to Dave and give him directions on what I want in the picture. I cannot get close to an edge, but this view point had a rock wall directly in front of me and a point of land beyond that so I stood, shakily, and captured the view. Good girl.
This is a small State Park offering undeveloped camping, hiking and picnicking on the rim of this very impressive example of an entrenched river meander. The entrance fee is $5 per car.
Continuing on our way back to Beluga we decided to follow an unpaved road that had intrigued us before. It appeared to run behind the "famous" Mexican Hat formation and we wanted to see where it went. I love to do that! The road eventually went no where, but it was a beautiful ride!
|beautiful close up view of the Raplee Anticline|
One last stop on this Easter day brought us to a wall of petroglyphs, but this post has gone on much too long, so more about them next time.