This was the historical Wild West road, an icon and inspiration to so many in this great countries history, and to future generations for many years to come.

Land of the Gods

Written By Louisa Mow in Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona
The biggest difference between the Canyons in New Mexico and the Canyonlands in Utah and Arizona is the feeling of space, elevation, and your significance, (or lack thereof) inside it all. Canyonlands National Park was a great introduction.

Our campsite for the night was high up on a rocky plateau, nestled amongst the sagebrush and sand dunes. As dawn broke, we fired up our trusty van and drove further into the park, the ground beneath our feet winding into a deep, multilayered maze of red stone and sand. It had been pitch black when we set up camp, and waking up to this beautiful vista was a welcome and inspiring sight. We gazed in awe at the surf of prehistoric cliffs behind us, and the deep chasms in the earth below, thankful to be there and ready to start the day. 

After watching the sunrise in Canyonlands we headed off towards monument valley, spending the drive reminiscing on all the films shot in this iconic setting. We entered through Navajo territory where the monuments were located and took the scenic route through the Valley of the Gods toward the town of Mexican Hat.
There was no mistaking why it was called the Valley of the Gods. The drive felt weirdly spiritual, and the talking subsided as we gazed out the windows. The monuments looked like Aztec pyramids, strangely symmetrical with straight horizontal lines that formed shadows that made the formations look black and red.

Mexican Hat was the last town before Monument valley, and we stopped off for some more water before heading in. The road dipped and rose in straight waves and we were anticipating the silhouettes of the monuments every time we ascended a small incline.

The excitement I felt when we finally saw them was a wonderful moment. There they were, totally unmistakable, in all their crimson glory. The "Buttes" and "Mittens" rose up lonely in the earth, with nothing to distract you from them. This was the historical Wild West road, an icon and inspiration to so many in this great countries history, and to future generations for many years to come. 
The road stretched endlessly in a straight line, until we stopped in front of them, basking in their magnificence.

We met up with a Navajo man on one of the viewpoints and got to talking about the geology of the area, about carving stone and mining minerals in the area. His tribe had lived off these lands for generations, these days making money selling jewellery and handcrafted souvenirs in the marketplaces on the reservation.

We wound through a few more dirt side roads that surrounded the monuments before heading on westward to Glen Canyon, home of the spectacular slot Canyons, sand dunes, vermilion cliffs, desert orchards, and lakes. We dreamt of cool waters in the blistering heat of the desert and knew just where to find them.

And so we drove on in wonderland.