At the start of our adventure, we hadn’t planned on spending so much time in the desert, largely because we were unaware that there was so much of it in this country. As easterners, when we thought of the desert, the image of brown, scrubby and barren came to mind, a waste land. Never did we think that it was colorful, filled with life, delicate with ever changing landscapes and vistas around every bend. Nor did we know that it would attract us, and spark a desire to want to better understand its mysteries.
Arizona exceeded our expectations. After spending more than a week in New Mexico, we thought we had experienced the most varying landscape of our trip. However, Arizona is not one to be upstaged by its neighbor.
We entered the State in dramatic fashion from southeast Utah, which upon entering you are immediately in the one of the most photographed western landscapes, Monument Valley. Monument Valley is a place of towering monoliths of weathered rock standing like sentinels in the rugged arid vast expanse. They are seen from at least 30 miles away and greet you with a strong, quite solitude, even when you get to the park and among the tourist bustle of the visitor center. This is a Navajo Monument, and this being the case all of the prices are inflated, but the views from the road are free and almost as good as inside the park itself. After leaving, the scenery calmed down a bit, perhaps in homage to the almost surreal visual experience awaiting us at the Grand Canyon.