As alluded to in the last post, the next location contains a little bit of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado – all in one spot!
That’s right, four corners – (interestingly) the only place in the US where four states meet. While totally meaningless, it was kinda neat to stand in all four of the states at once, while the locals have put up a monument around the location.
Of course, four corners was only a pitstop on the way to our ultimate location on the next journey (although it did add an hour or so to the trip), the truly unbelievable Monument Valley on the border of Arizona and Utah.
We arrived before sundown (thankfully), and drove up to The View, a hotel built into the landscape on the reservation. The true scope of the valley wasn’t clear until we got into our room and saw the view from the balcony. Best described with a panorama.
Fortunately, we had brought a few beverages with us from ABQ, so we were able to sit on the balcony (rugged up) as the sun went down with a cold one, before we wandered over to the restaurant for a sample of Native American cooking. I had the sampler plate, which consisted of a few different stews and a Navajo taco – I was very full after!
We were up before dawn the next morning to take in the sunrise.. it was a truly mesmerising experience – and as Forrest Gump said when runnnning through the desert, you “couldn’t tell where the earth ended and heaven began.”
After breakfast we took the rental (ssshhh) on an off-road tour through the tribal park – getting up close to the mesas, buttes and mittens.. The following pictures can never do our time there justice, but as the old saying goes, a picture says a thousand words – so several will probably do a better job than I could describe it!
Later that morning, we were back on the road to our next destination, further across in Arizona to Flagstaff, our base for visiting the Grand Canyon.
The first stop on this drive was the Painted Desert (see pics below) and Petrified Forest. No, the trees weren’t scared/scary, but were in fact up to hundreds of millions of years old! When they died they fell into swamps, but instead of rotting were preserved. Over the years the flow of water replaced the wood with silica and other minerals, leaving traces behind and eventually replacing all of the wood with crystal!
The rock that had formed around the trees then gradually eroded, leaving the “trees” behind. Obviously, stone is far heavier than wood, and as fissures formed in the logs – gravity did its thing and the cracks sheared, which gives the look of logs that have been sawed into segments! The stone is truly beautiful, and definitely worth a visit.
Not far down the road towards Flagstaff is Winslow, a sleepy little town that’s the subject of legendary Eagles song Take It Easy – “I was standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” – which lends itself to the Standin’ On The Corner park! As Eagles fans, this was a must see!
After that it was onto Flagstaff!