Cowboy Country

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End Aug 14, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday 7 October - Cowboy Country

Monument Valley

We stayed in a famous lodge called "Goulding's" on the Navajo Reservation. Our room had a wonderful view of the sun setting over the Monument Valley "buttes" as we sipped our Southern Comforts on our balcony.

The Gouldings originally ran a Navajo trading post in 1938 & were instrumental in persuading John Ford to film "Stagecoach", the classic John Wayne movie, in Monument Valley.
John Ford eventually made 9 films here.

For as little as $60 each, a Navajo will drive you in a beaten up old truck around a 17 mile scenic drive - or you can drive yourself in your air-conditioned car for nothing !

Another long drive took us to Springdale on the edge of Zion NP. We had an overpriced meal in the "Wild Willie" Diner (we were irritated that the restaurant added 18% service charge & then suggested we could add an additional tip !)

Wednesday 8 Oct - Zion NP
We really did get up early (after a S,S,S & S), left for the park at 8:00!
There are free shuttle busses that run up & down the canyon - you hop on/off at scenic points & then hike up the trails. We did a few hours of hiking, took some pictures & then blasted up Highway 89 towards Bryce Canyon.

Thursday 9 October - Bryce Canyon
We tried to check into the famous Ruby's Hotel at the edge of the park but they were full, but we were lucky to book into a cabin on a nearby ranch/motel - it had real horses & real quad bikes ! The view from our room was again spectacular.
In the lobby were six shooters in glass cases, cowboy saddles & wanted posters for "Butch Cassidy" (or Robert LeRoy Parker for the cognoscenti) - he used to have a home near there.

Bryce Canyon was our favorite park - it is unique in its rock formation - priapic pillars of rock known as "hoodoos" have been formed by freeze/thaw cycles & wind erosion. The amphitheatre contains thousands of pink & white pinnacles & spires, some looking like people, others like cathedrals. Because the underlying rock is softer, some end up with a large rocks precariously balanced on a thin spire like the famous "Thor's Hammer" (Thor, but thatisfied).

You could trek down from the rim right into the amphitheatre (the interesting bit) following trails that threaded their way between the hoodoos. One of the landmarks looks like a statue of Queen Victoria, although it has been eroded quite a lot (but then I expect the real Queen Victoria has by now)
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