Switchbacks and Monument Valley Sep 29, 2004
So today we were trying to get to Valley of the Gods and Monument Valley. We had a long, long drive from Torrey, Utah and at the beginning of one of the highways, we were warned that the road was off-limits to trucks, RVs, and other assorted large vehicles. Why? The sign said, '10% Grades, Switchbacks, Narrow Gravel Road' — and they weren't kidding.
The first photo was the sign at the mountain top — the last pullover point before the switchbacks began. Yep — 1100 foot drop via hairpin turns down the side of a mountain. If you see the thin black line near the middle-left of the photo — that's a full-size highway at the bottom. It was like we were looking at the landscape from an airplane. And another calming factor was seeing the remains of three cars on the side of the hill when we looked down. Yikes. We tried to capture some video as we slowly drove down, but it just didn't do justice to the experience.
At the base of the mountain was Valley of the Gods — but we couldn't go in. The path was all dirt roads and it had rained previously. After narrowly avoiding getting our car stuck in a small pond, we decided it wouldn't be safe to continue on so unfortunately we missed it. However, we did travel on to Monument Valley, and that's where photo 2 and 3 come in.
Jenn and I have been referring to this as 'Roadrunner Territory' because that's what it reminds us of — the roadrunner cartoon. This landscape is desert with grand mesas poking up over the horizon for time to time. Monument Valley is a concentrated collection of said things. However, towards the end it started to get dark and stormy (see the last photo) and we hurried out before a 'monumental' storm crashed in, with bolt lightning and all.
Anyways, phew. That's enough writing for today.