by Laura Crum
Yep, that’s us, camped in the Valley of the Gods, near Bluff, Utah, close to the Four Corners. If you look, you’ll see a little bright red spot just behind the camper. That’s me, in my bright red hooded jacket, sipping my tea as the sun rose. And yep, it was incredibly magical.
We had a great trip. And in accordance with some requests, I’m gonna post a few photos and tell you about it. My apologies to those who expect a post about horses (!)
So that camper you see was home to five of us for two weeks. Myself, my husband (who is six foot six, mind you), my son, our old dog, and our new puppy. It was a little tight at times. It was also the puppy’s first road trip. Need I say more? We had our moments.
But overall we had a wonderful time. The first week out the weather was idyllic. Topping out around eighty, a nice little breeze, not too cold at night. It was incredible. Everything is fun in such weather.
Our first big adventure was driving 70 miles on dirt roads to camp in an isolated spot by the edge of the Grand Canyon. The last mile the truck was literally jumping from rock to rock—the road was that rough. I should have taken pictures, but you know what? I was way too white knuckled for the thought to even cross my mind. But once we got there it was amazing. The photo below shows our camp.
Here’s my terrace for margaritas at sunset.
Here’s the view from my terrace, including the margarita. That’s the Grand Canyon in the background. Not another soul around. Very restful.
Lest you think the whole trip was completely idyllic and get too jealous, we had our share of adversity. Like the time our local contact told us about a short (one mile round trip) hike to see some petroglyphs near town. Yeah, right. We wandered around the desert for an hour, confused as hell. The directions he gave us were crap. Finally found the darn petroglyphs, which were underwhelming. By that time my son and I were exhausted, frustrated, and both on the verge of tears. My old dog kept lying down and refusing to go on. You could read her expression perfectly. “Just leave me here to die in the desert, would ya? I’ve had enough.” My husband was annoyingly intrepid. The only one who was just fine was the puppy. My husband carried her most of the way.
Here’s Star (the puppy—she has a white star on her chest) visiting the petroglyphs—you can see one on the rock behind her.
We did so many magical things on this trip. We got to climb into kivas and ruins that dated from 500 AD on private property that we were visiting. And we got permission to camp in the Ute Tribal Park in a solitary spot where we could see petroglyphs and cliff dwellings from our camp—and examine them in complete solitude. The ground underneath was thick (literally) with Anasazi pot shards. It was incredible. Here’s my husband looking up at the petroglyphs.
Perhaps the most wonderful part to me was the space and solitude. The land and its feeling is so different from where I live—I just love it. Here’s my son and I enjoying a quiet moment of desert solitude as afternoon turns to evening.
I don’t usually wear such “big” jewelry as you see in the above photo, but my husband bought me a squash blossom necklace when we visited this area on our honeymoon, twelve years ago. So I thought it was appropriate to wear it for our return visit.
We spent the first week in just such amazing, magical spots as these, and then…the wind came up. For two days we drove around the Navajo reservation in a blowing sandstorm—so bad it was hard to see the road. After that we made a break for civilization and spent a night at the La Posada Hotel, in Winslow, Arizona—a truly elegant old hotel dating from the hey day of the railroads and Route 66. The food there was incredible. I highly recommend it.
After that we headed home down Route 66, camping in the desert every night. The weather was cooler—it even snowed on us once. We had a blast.
When I got home I was greeted by this:
Don’t you think Sunny looks glad to see me?
And what was the first thing I did after I got home? You guessed it. We took off on a trail ride. The photo below shows our friend/boarder, Wally, on Twister, and my son on Henry (and Sunny’s ears) as we head down the trail. Our horses were bright, lively, eager to go, and perfectly behaved after their two weeks off. What good horses they are. I am so grateful for them.
And what a contrast between our lush, green scenery and the desert. But I love both places.
And just like Shanster said before I left, I really appreciated my home and all I do here when I got back. Traveling always seems to put things in perspective.
Hope you all are doing well—I will try to catch up with your blogs. Cheers--Laura