Valley of the Gods: Day 3

Monument Valley

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.

Valley of the Gods from the top of the Moki Dugway

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.

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About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company (http://www.offtrailtravel.com). After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
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