Lonesomes Episode 4: Monument Valley

mv18Monument Valley: we’ve seen so many marvels on this trip, but for me this is definitely the high point so far. Just writing about it fills my mind with awe and I can’t find good enough words, so I’ll stick to facts and photos. We set out from our lovely Aztec house on a bright morning, crossing deserts where we searched in vain for a picnic spot:

No shade for a hundred miles

No shade for a hundred miles (great views, though)

So when, hungry and travel weary, we reached the last town before entering the Valley, we were delighted to find this Mexican cafe:

mv-3awhere we had a delicious meal. Onward up the outside of Monument Valley and great red cliffs started to sprout from the landscape

mv1We were not just visiting for the day: we were heading for one of the only places you can stay in the Valley (there is some limited camping, apparently): the little Navajo Hogan in the middle, in a small settlement of 3 hogans and a shed. Oh, and a long drop loo too, a loo with a simply fabulous view… You can see this very hogan at the start of one of Ray Mears’ TV series on the Wild West. As instructed by airbnb we had all the provisions we needed, including water. Here we are, relaxing with a cup of tea after arriving

mv17and here is our hogan

mv13mv6Hogans, literally translated as ‘place,home’, are wooden structures. They are mostly covered with adobe as this one was (as Freddie observed: the same roof construction as the old Dove Door house). They are places to live, to give birth and to celebrate, laugh and tell stories, and make crafts, notably weaving. Our hostess Verna’s mother is a weaver who lives just a couple of hundred yards away in the family house: this is her loom (and she is the elder who features in Ray Mears’ film – we didn’t actually meet her, but we heard a lot about her!)

mv-loomJust in case our cup wasn’t full enough, it was also the night of the full moon. After watching (and filming) the shadows of sunset race across Thunderbird Mesa opposite our site, we sat round a juniper wood fire – delicious smell – keeping warm with thick Indian blankets until we fell into bed in the most exquisite ‘dorm’ you can imagine. In the middle of the night I got up and went out and the surreal picture of the cliffs illuminated as in some Hollywood studio, but by the light of the moon, is a sight I will never forget (sorry, no photo). We were all up just before sunrise and my first sight of this, with setting moon, was as in these photos:

mv3mv4Later in the morning we had a long chat with Verna: here she is;

mv8and had a visit from one of her family’s many horses:

mv16and walked over to Thunderbird mesa: here I am looking back towards the camp:

mv9and here are some wonderful round stones at the end of the mesa:

mv12Then it was pack our ‘wagon’ Betsy, and reluctantly we took our leave. We still had more than half the rocky road trail to complete, so many more joys still in store:

mv19_mv11

 

4 comments
  1. Saida said:

    All sounds so amazing ladies. In awe and inspired.

    Love to my mama Nona.

    Tell her Hendrix picked up a doll that has grey (silver) hair and instantly called her Nona!!

    Saida
    xxxxx

  2. Fantastic account of your western journey full of gratitude and satisfaction. Thank you for sharing !! Especially love the shot of you Brits enjoying a cupper I the middle of that arid terrain. Perfect .

  3. micky mousse said:

    ‘No Country for Old Women’…or 5 Go Mad on Mescalin…or even better,..just a simple cup of Rosie Lee, loving this btw

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