First off, sorry this is late–no WiFi yesterday.
Today was a shortish driving day – only about 275 miles. Before leaving Santa Fe we stopped by the farmers market hoping to pick up some fruit for the trip. Unfortunately, while they had lots of vegetables, they had almost no fruit. We redirected over to the local Whole Foods and picked up fruit and some stuff for lunch. We left around 9am and headed for Four Corners – about 170 miles away. We did 40 miles on the interstate and then dropped onto state roads. The scenery is just amazing, huge mesas and valleys all along the route. However, what struck me most was how desolate the landscape was. Miles and miles of gorgeous scenery, but nothing else. While on one of the roads, we were introduced to a state of New Mexico police officer as my car was apparently traveling above the speed limit..oops…I will be making a small donation to the New Mexico State coffers which I hope they use to raise the speed limits. Oh well, guess I will to pay more attention to those signs with numbers on them.
(Steven was driving so while he noticed the giant sandstone formations by the side of the road, he did not see that they are called Baby Rocks for a reason. Yes, they look like lots of babies. We also saw Shiprock, which stands pretty much in the middle of nowhere and rises almost 1,600 feet.) We arrived at Four Corners just about lunch time, somewhat surprisingly it is actually on Navajo land and the borders weren’t finalized until 1901. We waited in line along with all the other tourists; took the obligatory photos and then got back in the car and ate lunch. I am glad we went, but have no need to ever go back. From Four Corners we pointed ourselves toward Monument Valley where Sue booked us one night in a Tipi….Yup…a Tipi. The drive took about two hours and once we passed from New Mexico into Arizona, the landscape changed once again. As we dropped down from 7500 feet to about 5000, the cliffs seem starker and more colorful. I wish I could do justice to the beauty and colors.
We arrived at our “lodging” in the late afternoon and settled in for a couple of hours. Sue booked an evening hike to a rock formation called the teardrop. As many of you know, I am quite afraid of heights – more accurately, I am petrified of falling. So the hike started out easy enough, up and down over blood red sandstone dunes. Then we turned to face a one of the smaller mesas and started walking up it. Our guide, Brian, was casually walking up and up along the spine of one of the hills, which then turned into the side of the mesa … and up we went. I coped fairly well with the climb, although I found the thin air difficult. It wasn’t until we were fairly near the top that I realized we climbed about 1500 feet. We got to the teardrop and I sat down while Sue took photos. Brian seemed a bit concerned about my discomfort about heights – quite rightly as the climb down much much scarier. I struggled during the portion of the climb that walked across the face of the mesa but managed. The whole hike was only 2-3 miles and we covered it in about 1.5 hours. We arrived back down at the camp right about sunset.