When we drove into Monument Valley and the Navajo Nation, the buttes were glowing in the sunset. I took 100 pictures (well, an exaggeration) but none of them quite capture the landscape I was seeing with my own eyes. This place is magical.
Every rock formation has a name – East and West Mittens (as you can see here), the Chief, King On His Thrown, Stagecoach, and the list goes on. Monument Valley has been used for decades as a prominent Hollywood film location but the people live here much like they have for hundreds of years.
Our first day started and we began our adventure riding on horseback with a Navajo guide who showed us around the land from a vantage point that the public cannot access- unless accompanied by a tribal member. The three of us, our horses and two excited pups explored the trails… well, mostly sans-trails, together for the day. It was so memorable.
The sun passed over the dessert and the buttes slowly shifted from orange, to red, to purple throughout the day. A sandstorm kicked up and caught us at one point- we all closed our eyes and held our hats waiting for it to pass. A sprinkle of rain followed and cooled down the day. In that moment we were both smiling- it felt spiritual. For a second, you could imagine what life was like hundreds of years ago on this land – no roads, no people, just you, the land, the weather, and the quiet. It was really special to spend the day on the Navajo reservation in such a sacred place- something we will never forget.
Before we left Monument Valley in all its grandeur we stopped by a traditional Hogan – these are sacred houses where families live, work, and celebrate together. We met Lucy here, who is a Navajo weaver. She has been spinning and weaving the wool from her family’s sheep since she was just ten years old. She was working on a true beauty (and said it will take a total of 6 months to complete) when we met her. She explained how the black, grey and white wools are natural but the colors come from dyes she makes out of the plants in the area. We bought this little dazzler from her that her eleven year old granddaughter made- really impressive, right? This encounter struck a cord with us, weaving and textiles is a love of mine – but seeing such an ancient art from a Navajo elder was on a whole other level.
And then, we were back on the road. We stopped stopped for a quick photo of the Three Sisters (I have three sisters)… before leaving and heading through The Four Corners, Teec Nos Pos Trading post, then into Colorful Colorado on our way to Denver.