Saturday, April 21, 2007
Valley of the Gods and the Devil's Ascent
On our last day in the Mexican Hat, Utah, area we planned to explore a little more and that we did!
First on the list, was Valley of the Gods. We heard from a fellow traveler how much they enjoyed it. We were very impressed. In fact, our opinion is that the landscape is twice as beautiful as Monument Valley. These 250,000,000 year old sandstone rock formations surround you as you drive through the valley.
The Navajo believe that the monoliths are spirits of warriors that give strength and power to soldiers as they go to war. As we stopped in a solitary spot for lunch, the wind started howling and stirred up quite a haze that eerily clouded the scene. Was there a message?
The erosion from the wind, water and ice have formed endless interesting shapes. Many of the huge rocks seem to be teetering on the top, waiting to fall any moment, just suspended.
Some of nature's artwork in the valley have acquired names based on their resemblances, such as, the Hen on Nest and the Seven Sailors. Our favorite was the balancing rock named, "Lady in the Tub." Can you see her below with her back to you and her knee just poking up through the bubbles?
It was still early afternoon when we finished our drive through the Valley of the Gods and Jerry suggested we take a ride up the road a ways. He was curious about the signs we had read at the entrance to this highway a few days ago.
Well the sign was the type we've all read and taken with a grain of salt. You know, one that reads something like, slow, 10 mph curves, etc. We've all seen them and the road turned out to be perfectly safe at something like 30 mph. Well, this one turned out to be "the road from hell." It was three miles of very steep, loose, slippery gravel -- winding and narrow with no shoulder -- up the side of this mountain. Did we mention the wind too?? Well we were both sooo glad to be at the top. This one we are naming: The Devil's Ascent. It was horrendous!
This photo can't do it justice but it gives just a hint at the experience. It was taken as we slowed momentarily behind some crazy people who were
actually getting out of their car to snap photos.
So Nancy snapped a quick one out the window. Notice the gravel at the front of the photo. That's how the edge looked all the way up.
So anyway, by the top we were both determined that regardless of how far it was to go around, we sure weren't going back down. Luckily we brought our topographical map and found a county road that took us only about 40 miles around and back to our little home. As this part of the tale turned out it was fortunate that we have a Jeep because this county road was muddy, full of large boulders and contained some areas unfit for regular vehicles. Two hours later we came back to the highway leading to our rig just in time for the wind to have increased to 50-60 mph. After fighting our way out of the Jeep and into the motorhome only to feel it rocking to and fro, we concluded that we had better move back from our canyon view until the gale force winds subsided. We put Ferd in reverse for about 50 feet and waited out the wind. This one was a day for the memory bank!