Monument Valley

The pictures speak for themselves. You can understand why this place is such a popular setting for westerns. It is part of the Navajo reservation and we had to pay $25 to get in. We drove a 17-mile course, stopping at various places to look at the scenery or take pictures. The flat, big rock formations are mesas, after the Spanish word for table. When they get thinner and broader at the bottom, they are called buttes. When the butte gets very thin it is called a spire. Which are which is open to some interpretation.

After that we went on to Durango, Colorado, stopping at the four corners monument. The four corners is where the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet. It is also part of the Navajo nation, and it cost us $15 to get in there. I guess they have to make money in this dry, inhospitable place. It is the only place in the U.S. where you can set your foot in four states at once. The Navajo arrived in the area only about 800 years ago. Before that Anastazi people occupied the place. The Anastazi lived in Pueblo villages that you still see around here, but they died out for reasons anthropologists still speculate about. A big reason was the harsh climate. Despite the grandeur, this place is obviously a wasteland. We drove for hours at 60 mph through almost nothing but rock, sand and dirt. Occasionally you see a house. I don’t know how the inhabitants make a living. This is even bleaker than the desert near Phoenix. The only redeeming characteristic is that it is much cooler than the lower desert. Daytime temperatures are only about 100, which seems cool at least in the dry air, and it gets into the 50s at night.

As we crossed into Colorado and gained altitudes, things became a lot greener. We are staying at KOA in Durango, Colorado. It is a nicer cabin than we had before. Durango has all the conveniences, including a Wall Mart, where we bought a window fan for $10. It is bringing in the cooler air very nicely. I am writing at about 11 pm and it is comfortably cool outside. Tomorrow we plan to go rafting and I hope to have pictures.