Thursday, June 18, 2015

Monument Valley: Big Butes

Our first night in Monument Valley is one to remember.  We pulled into our campsite at Gouldings which was nestled between large butes of red rock.  The site had lots of trailers and a few tent sites which were close to each other.  The bathrooms were amazingly clean, lots of free showers, wifi, and and indoor pool.  What can we say?  Oh and the closest drive into the park.

Our night was so hot we decided to sleep without the rain fly.  Around 4 am I woke up to some large drops on my face and my husband rushed to get the rain fly on.  By then I noticed lightning.  It may not have been close, but at 4 am and in a tent, maternal instinct kicks in and you're ready to protect those babies.  I watched for an hour to see the lightning light up the sky and also make bolts that hit the ground at some distance.  By 5:15 and some light in the sky I was ready for a run.  Heading down the hill I felt I could have been like Forest Gump and keep running.  It was breathtaking and even at 5,000ft elevation, I was elated.

We spent the morning in the park exploring the butes, learning about rock formations, erosion, and also precious rocks.  The unpaved path in our Prius was doable.  We fretted about it and so we took our box and hitch off and left it in our tent.  It was a good thing since it was quite a bumpy ride but nothing the car could not handle.  I cannot imagine the kids putting up with the open and dusty jeep ride.  The park cost $20 and it was just amazing to drive by all those butes.  However, I will say that if you are strapped on time 163 heading S/ SW is the money shot.  You see a lot from there and this is the movie scene.  Hitting this stretch at sunset is the best.  The park is hot- very hot at this time but it was amazingly green on the valley floor.  I will say that as much as we enjoyed looking up, there was more to see down in the grasses.  The wildflowers were stunning and changed from one location to the next.  Not sure if we got lucky with some recent rains.

The other highlight of our campsite was that we discovered some trails into the rock right behind our tent.  This led to the most spectacular rock arch form which rivals some photos of Arches in Utah.  I'm sure they are amazing, but for a quick campsite hike this was a truly hidden gem.

The kids spent the afternoon cooling off in the pool followed by a fantastic pork massaman curry and coconut rice.  This was one of the pre-prepped packets of food I made before leaving (photo on FB).  Simple steps like this have really helped expedite meals and to also make them pretty great since I would not want to carry all these spices and veggies around for days.  Having it frozen and in the cooler has been a lot of help.  Hopefully I'll have a meal prep/ camping packing post ready by the time we're done with this trip.

If you like what you read, please check out FB for random and occasional photos.  Most everything is done from my phone, so service and spelling are spotty!

Thank you for visiting!

Oh and we stopped at an antique shop where I got an amber cake stand and a blue glass ball canning jar!
The View restaurant. Excellent view Nd break from the heat, ok on food. 
The 'mittens' left and center

An arch behind our campsite.

Dinner of pork massaman curry and coconut rice. Some awesome whiskey from San Fran. But that was a mistake considering our drive to CO. 

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