Our first morning in the Valley of the Gods was clear and very cold. A brisk north wind was telling us that winter has definitely arrived in the desert southwest. Vince joined as at the B&B and the three of us headed out to Monument Valley for a short hike and assorted sightseeing. I had visited Monument Valley years ago, but it was on a cloudy day and my pictures were pretty drab. Today, we had clear blue skies making it a perfect day for photographing the valley.
There is only one hiking trail open to the public in Monument Valley. The Wildcat Trail is a 3½ mile loop that starts just below the visitor’s center and follows along the base of the West Mitten. It was 10:00 AM when we started hiking and the weather had not warmed up much. A brisk wind at the trailhead required us to wear our warmest winter clothes. One advantage of visiting Monument Valley in the cold months is you see only a fraction of the tourists that you’d see during the high season. On this hike, we did not see another soul. After the hike, we drove around the park loop road and took some more photos before heading back to our B&B in the Valley of the Gods.
It was getting late in the afternoon when we got back to the B&B, but we were determined to get some sunset photos of the valley. We took the short drive to the top of Cedar Mesa via the Moki Dugway, a section of highway consisting of sharp turns that quickly winds its way up to the top of the mesa. From the top, we were able to get some great early evening shots of the valley before the cold temperatures and growling stomachs forced us back down the hill and into Mexican Hat for another fine meal at the San Juan Trading Post Hotel.