The stark monoliths rising out of the expansive desert vista have often been a backdrop in Western films. I love the rugged mountainous views offered in such movies. It is not the majestic beauty of Norway’s fiords or Montana’s Glacier Park, but it has an awesome, that is awe inspiring beauty. I have visited the pretty mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, as well as the rugged mountains of West Texas not far from where I live. Most people do not realize there are mountains in West Texas, but there are. The expansive landscapes are also present, but not the distinct monoliths. One has to travel to either Arizona or Utah to see such stark beauty. That is just what I did.
I spent a number of weeks researching my game plan: that is my trip itinerary. The planning was fun with anticipation as I had always wanted to venture on a journey to see Monument Valley in northeastern Arizona. My wife left the planning to me and although she was a bit uneasy with the remoteness of our destination, she was open to the upcoming experience.
We flew to Vegas, rented a car, and immediately set out on our trek. First stop was the Grand Canyon. It had snowed a few days previously so the park was not crowded at all. The wind was chilly but the view was compelling in sheer size of the natural gorge. Next, we headed for Monument Valley. We stayed on the Navajo reservation in the View Motel. It overlooked Monument Valley. An awesome sunset and sunrise awaits all who stay at this very affordable hotel. Many of John Ford’s Westerns were filmed in the very vicinity of the View Motel. A room in the motel highlights these films as well as John Wayne’s many visits to the Navajo lands. He called the area, “God’s Treasure.” I do not argue with that opinion.
The next morning we drove through a remote rugged area in southeastern Utah called the “Valley of the Gods.” The isolated 17 mile dirt road traverses among steep red sandstone monoliths and buttes. Not as stark as Monument Valley but very quiet. We saw three other cars in two hours. That afternoon shortly up the road we visited Natural Bridges National Monument. The short hikes, just right in length, to view a half dozen of nature’s stone bridges created by an ancient river offered distinct beautiful scenery. The park is also very isolated and therefore not crowded. It was my wife’s favorite park on the trip, and many more were to follow. Next, we headed for eastern Utah and visited Arches National Park just outside Moab. Arches look like bridges but are formed differently than bridges. They are both rare and both beautiful in my opinion.
An interesting park we visited one afternoon in south central Utah was called Goblin State Park. The unique rock red formations ranging in height from 8 to 40 feet were shaped liked either
mushrooms or goblins. This park off the beaten path was very worth the time. That night we stayed in a lodge nestled among the red hills of Utah. We were the only ones in the lodge and were
warmly treated. The following day we drove through forestry snow covered mountains with desert expanse from the scenic overlooks. The views could allow one to see for hundreds of miles. My
wife loves forests. We ended the day at the spectacular beauty of Bryce National Canyon.
The following day we leisurely enjoyed Zion National Park before heading back to Vegas to fly out the next morning. All in all, an excellent trip: good weather, beautiful scenery with open roads. My
wife is an excellent traveling companion, and I was glad she had a good time. I always enjoy her company, especially when we experience God’s Treasure together. I look forward to our next excursion.