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Road Trip: Monument Valley

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Near the quadripoint–where the borders of 4 states (Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) meet–called The Four Corners, there is a slice of heaven cutting through the Navajo Nation Reservation aptly named Monument Valley:

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It is a cluster of stratified buttes vastly spread across the sandy valley floor, located on the Arizona/Utah side. If I could remember more from my geology class I would be able to rattle off the names of each layer that has earned its place on these rocks over the course of millions of years. Suffice it to say, when you confront Mother Nature in such a humbling way, it just puts you back in your place in this great universe of ours.

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There are private tours you can book once you get here, including some by horseback (definitely for my next visit), but most tourists can just leisurely drive along the 17-mile scenic dirt route. We were all quite excited each time we saw a mini sandstorm:

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The red/orange/golden hues come from the iron oxide exposed over time in the siltstone, sandstone, and shale found here.

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All the markings in the rocks remind me of an old woman’s face; every wrinkle is a sum of events in her life. By the same token these rocks tell the story of each wind and rain that has passed through this valley:

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I must have taken a million photos of the trees gilded by the shimmering sand. If you love rose gold as much as I do (and have a thing for rocks)(yes, like diamonds…but I digress), you would understand why my phone is full of pictures like this one:

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I imagine that in the summer months this place would take on different colors with less green and cloud cover. The weather was perfectly manageable when we were here at the end of April, but the sun was already quite intense. For every calming photo like this one (one of my favorites out of the 3000 I took on this entire trip)…

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there was all this fatigue going on in the background, as captured by one of my friends when I was whining in silence about the heat:

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So I was either taking a power nap or looking for water in the rock cracks, who knows! This girl is definitely not made for the outdoors, but the road beckons. And I always heed the call.

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