From the moment I read today’s guest writer’s article, I felt like I had known her all of my life. Patricia Rubel, from The Patrish Pages blog, is currently training to hike Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, a bucket list travel destination for so many of us. Patricia and I share a sense of adventure and truly could have been sisters in another lifetime.
Patricia has wondered if she has what it takes to complete the upcoming hike, on a lengthy and difficult trail far out of her comfort zone.
Yes, Patricia, you do! Take it from me; I summited Mt. Kilimanjaro last July, a hike that was half a world away from my comfort zone. It was indescribably difficult, but that’s part of what made it so great.
So, lace up your hiking boots, strap on your backpack and go! I have no doubt you will have the time of your life. In the meantime, we will enjoy reading about your amazing journey in today’s guest post ~ Monument Valley: Where Western Dreams Are Made!
Patricia’s Bio: Patricia is an avid traveler and novice hiker who is determined to make every day an adventure! She is a business owner, has been married to her husband for 32 years, has three adult children and one adorable grand baby. At the ripe old age of 57, she decided it was time to get in shape and take up hiking. Her message to women of all ages is to say yes to adventure, if she can do it, anyone can! She has hiked through Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, Aspen, Durango and is currently getting ready for a 5-day hike through Havasupai in the Grand Canyon. Follow her on Instagram at @PatrishPages
Monument Valley: How Western Dreams Are Made
If you have ever watched old western movies and watched cowboys ride off into the sunset, chances are you are familiar with Monument Valley. To see it on-screen only gives you a glimmer of the majestic beauty of what the Navajo People call Tsé Biiʼ Ndzisgaii or “Valley of the Rocks.”
The beauty of these red rock formations will take your breath away. The colors seem to dance and change as the sun and the clouds move across the sky. The Navajo people say that the mesas and buttes have a heartbeat, after spending time and exploring Monument Valley, I believe them.
Monument Valley is a 92,000-acre tribal park that straddles the Arizona and Utah border. The Navajo people consider this valley to be a sacred land, the heart of the earth. To truly see the beauty of this land you need to experience it through the eyes of one of the native guides.
There are two tour companies I would recommend, Navajo-Spirit-Tours and Goulding’s Tours. Both of these companies are staffed with local Navajo guides that have grown up in the Monument Valley Area. They are knowledgeable about the history and geography of the land and share stories and insights into the Navajo culture. The tours take about 3 hours and transportation is in open aired Jeep trucks.
The tour companies have tribal permission to take you into restricted areas that are not accessible by public roads. Trust me, it is worth the tour. You will see ancient petroglyphs, visit actual hogans and ranches, see ancient ruins and natural arches.
If you are a hiker and want to experience Monument Valley by foot, The Wildcat Trail is the only self-guided trail open to the public. This is a moderate trail that covers about 4 miles round trip and will take you about 2 to 3 hours.
I took my time; the scenery was so beautiful that I kept stopping to take pictures and enjoy the views. A word to the wise, make sure you bring extra water, there is very little shade along this trail and even in cooler weather the dry desert air will quickly dehydrate even seasoned hikers. I would also highly recommend a hat and sunscreen!
To really enjoy Monument Valley, plan on at least one or two nights so that you can experience sunset and sunrise views. We stayed at Guilding’s Lodge on the Utah side of the park. Every room has a private balcony and spectacular views of the valley below. There is a wonderful restaurant on property serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be sure to try the Navajo Frybread, it is absolutely delicious! On a side note, there is a strict no alcohol policy on the Navajo reservation, the restaurant only serves nonalcoholic wine and beer.
One of my favorite parts of Guilding’s Lodge was the Trading Post Museum. They have everything from movie memorabilia, beautiful Navajo pottery, and the restored “living Quarters” of the Goulding’s home from the 1940’s and 50’s. When you walk around the lodge you can’t help but think of what it was like when John Ford directed John Wayne and the Golden Age of Western Movies.
Before you visit, treat yourself to a marathon of old John Ford movies; Stagecoach, The Searchers, My Darling Clementine, Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. If you love mystery books read the Navajo detective series by Tony Hillerman, Monument Valley is prominently featured in many of the books.
Or show up and start your own adventure, either way it’s worth it!
Did you enjoy reading about Monument Valley? I know I did, and Patricia’s pictures captured the essence of the landscape perfectly. Be sure to visit The Patrish Pages and check out some other great articles.
Planning to visit places near the Grand Canyon? Check out this guide to obtaining a Havasupai Falls permit.
Comment below to let Patricia and myself know if you have visited Monument Valley, or a similar area nearby.
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