• Day80

    Day 80 - The Sound Of Silence

    November 26, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Our tour around Monument Valley was to start at 2:30pm and we had zero plans for the morning. I was pretty pleased to find that we had NBC Sports in our room and I could watch a Premier League game in bed. A great start to a promising day.

    We had a big lunch before heading off as the tour was scheduled to last for three hours. Yesterday it was warm in the sun and cold out of it. Today the sun was hiding behind a blanket of clouds which meant Alice and I ensured we were layered up as we assumed it would get cold. When the pick-up truck with seats, a roof and exposed sides pulled up to whisk us into the desert, we were pleased we had all those layers on. It was the drive to the Valley itself that was the coldest part because on entering the park, the gravelly road meant we weren't able to drive fast and therefore increase the chill factor.

    Our first stop was the visitor centre where we had a nice panoramic view of some of the most recognisable monuments here, including left mitten and right mitten. We had ten minutes to take photos and look around before we were back in the pick-up. Our tour guide was a local who was very informative throughout, doling out facts and trivia which were relayed to us in the back. He also had a wit that was as dry as the dirt around us and if it wasn't for his chuckle that followed each retort I dont think the others on the trip would have realised they were jokes. Only Alice and I seemed to appreciate the humour. The tour from this point on mainly involved driving for five minutes, letting us out of the back to take photos and then rounding us up and putting us back in again, each time getting further into the park. The tour guide pointed out interesting things to look at, like the monument that looked like snoopy on his back or the monument that looked like a sleeping dragon. It was a monument version of magic eye that once seen was both impressive and rewarding. The one that took me a while to get was near an area called Big Hogan. Here we were led into an exposed area of rock and we were asked to lean against a slanted layer of rock so that we were looking skywards at a hole in the exposed rock. The tour guide said if you look carefully you can see an eagles head, side profile on with the hole as the eye. A few furrowed brows later and there it was, as clear as... an image of something in the rock. It was fantastic to see and added a great deal of character to the various areas we visited.

    As part of the tour we were taken to a private part of the park where families lived in hogans which are house made from wood and layers of earth. We watched a woman spindle some yarn incredibly quick as we were informed about how rugs were made traditionally. The woman also braided the hair of a girl who was one of the tour group in a knot that was unique to her tribe. The tour guide explained that the warm hogan that we were in was made from wood timbers, layered with the bark of that wood on top of the timbers and then earth on top of that. There were no joins or gaps as we each inspected the interior and marvelled at its build. The cold hit us again as soon as we were out and back in the pick-up. A few more stop-off points later and it was beginning to get dark. One of the most interesting things that we saw before the darkness engulfed us were wall paintings that were from the Anasazi people who lived here a thousand years ago. They were mainly of antelope and the sun and the moon and they were pretty amazing. The drive back from our furthest point in the desert was noticeable for its lack of sound and increasing darkness. Our tour guide at one point said he would sing to us a tradition song of his people, and he begun singing jingle bells. A chuckle later and he started to sing a soft, slow chanting song that was fitting for the mood.

    On arrival back at the motel, Alice and I were exhausted even though we hadn't actually done much. Maybe it was all those trips in and out of the pick-up. We decided on an early one. Today was another fun and insightful day that will live long in the memory.

    Song of the Day:
    Simon & Garfunkel - The Sound Of Silence
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