I prepared breakfast in our room this morning, none was included here.
After checking out it was a two minute drive to the north rim of the canyon drive. This rim has fewer overlooks but they are just as spectacular as the other side. The first stop was for a little over an hour. It's mor Ethan just an overlook like they have at the Grand Canyon, here you can walk out a long way, clambering up and down the rocks. At one point on our wander we could look right down into the valley where people live and farm. There were two or three down there playing the native flutes and the beautiful sound carried all the way up to us, it was very peaceful. Aside from the more obviously newer dwellings there was what appeared to be the remnants of a much older settlement.
As we were heading back up to the car a small bird of prey flew above us, I'm hoping we will get a better idea of what it was once Pete downloads his camera pics.
At the second stop, Mummy Rock there was what looked like the ruins of pueblo dwellings. At the third, Massacre Rock some caves on the side appeared to also be very early dwellings. There was a large flock of blue birds of some sort flying as one, landing briefly on the face of the cliffs before lifting off, moving a little and repeating the pattern.
We came across some lizards, most were way too quick but one stuck around to afford some good photo ops. Many of the low growing trees were twisted and the rest of the flora was just scrubby or the odd cactus.
They run tours down into the valley with local guides, we may have to come back sometime and do that.
Before we knew it two hours had passed and we were ready to head towards Monument Valley.
We left the canyon feeling there were three main differences between there and other canyons we had been to. The first is its open 24/7 and always free. The second, it's far less known so way less busy and the third and more important to us; you feel less corralled and far more able to explore.
On the road out of Chelie we passed many native homes, most older and quite modest affairs often with obvious out houses others were a bit newer. Every now and then one would have a sweat lodge.
The drive from Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley was a couple of hours. We went through all sorts of rock formations in red, white, green, grey, even black and various combinations of them all. Some part of large chains other smaller formations just popping up alone in the middle of nowhere. Randomly there would be some sheep with a minder watching over them or seemingly unattended cattle or horses.
We got to Monument Valley, paid our $10 ea entry and set off on the unpaved, often rocky roads. First impression, it's red; very red! It's like being on the set of one of those westerns they used to play every Saturday morning when I was a kid.
The buttes rise from nowhere in weird and wonderful shapes. Many have names and from some angles they resemble what they're named after like a camel or three sisters but those same two butte from a different angle look more like a couple of Star Wars critters going the butt sniff or a dragon rising from the surrounding rocks.
At some of the stops there were locals selling their wares, for the most part at reasonable prices with a couple of exceptions. We bought another slate drawing, this one of a bear claw for $25. One of the look outs there were a number of enterprises, some selling food or handcrafts and a local dressed as a cowboy who would ride out to a point and strike a John Wayne pose from a movie. He was asking for tips; $1 if you take a pic of him on his horse, $3 for a pic of him on the horse striking the pose & $5 if you get a pic of yourself on his horse at the point. It looked like quite a few were paying going by the cash in his tip bucket.
We stopped for lunch at a spectacular view point; no tables or chairs but by that time we'd been sitting for some time so it was a nice change to stand.
We were in there for well over two hours and loved it, we took way too many pics but there was just so many amazing things to see. Many of the buttes to me looked less like they were made by nature, more like they were man made ancient ruins.
We saw a wee chipmunk and some small lizards while in the valley. We checked out the info centre for a loo stop before driving on to Page.
Page Az, it's still a nothing town in the middle of nowhere with a so so lake, a grubby coal fired power station and an over inflated opinion of itself. Hotels are insanely overpriced for what they are, the only thing it has going for it is the nearby Antelope Canyon which we are hoping to go to tomorrow. Deciding anything still available was overpriced rubbish or even more expensive and half way worth it we booked at the Hampton Inn by Hilton which waa a good choice. Awesome room, we had the chicken casserole I did in the slow cooker the day before yesterday, finally connected to the net and posted a few things and generally caught up.
We've had zero internet all day until here, even in Page our AT&T phone had no coverage.