John & Anne Wiley

2013/05/19

Amazing Day

Today was simply amazing. More warm times with dear Deb and then her son Scott met us at the airport for quick catch up and promises of coming to SB for a visit. Then with some trepidation we launched into strong gusty winds and scattered rain squalls, to try for Monument Valley. Almost immediately we were treated to beautiful desert views at Jemez.

5864 Jemez Valley

5864 Jemez Valley

Now to me this is an interesting photo. Shadows and light, colors and shapes, and that shaggy sky created by the distant rain squall. But just wait until you see the rest of the very few pix from today’s collection of 1209 – the most per mile we’ve ever shot in a day. It’s amazing to look at each one and remember being there. On the way to Monument Valley I realized a short detour would take us for another look at Chaco Canyon, so we got new views of the ancient site.

5964 Chaco Semicircle

5964 Chaco Semicircle

Those tiny dots at the lower left edge of the curve are people apparently about to get a tour of the ruins. A crazy angular seasonal creek seems to defy explanation.

5979 Zig Zag Creek

5979 Zig Zag Creek

Much of the flight was bumpy due to hot air rising in patches from the desert floor and winds mixing aloft, along with the scattered squalls that happily didn’t include any thunderstorms on our path. But the battalion of dust devils in this valley is one example of the areas we avoided flying through on our own slightly zigzag route.

7863 Dust Devils

7863 Dust Devils

Then our flight really began to overwhelm us with spectacular views as we chanced upon the Red Rock area.

6036 Red Rock Blade

6036 Red Rock Blade

The enormous stone blade standing at the lower-left of this pic adds to the already interesting sculpted butte beyond. Then on cue a squall line started to dust the landscape dotted with pools of light where sunlight blinked through.

6052 Weather Accents

6052 Weather Accents

The earth colors somehow washed up into the clouds at the right of this next pic.

6061 Rain, Sun, Stone

6061 Rain, Sun, Stone

I like the play of light on the foreground carved cliffs in this pic.

6067 Lit Clifftops

6067 Lit Clifftops

So many of our pix from this day are delightful for us to look at, and they take us right back to the moment.

6079 Magic Theater

6079 Magic Theater

I even caught this distant dusting of snow (click for a better look), melting minutes after the fast moving squall has frosted the rocks.

6084 Desert Snow

6084 Desert Snow

Then a mini-haboob menacing another path we didn’t take.

6149 Haboob-ette

6149 Haboob-ette

Nearly all of these hazards were on one side or the other as if guiding us on a destined tour of the four corners region. The few hazards we did need to detour around only served to increase the beauty unfolding along our enchanted way. So many more beautiful sights (and pix) I won’t share here. Then what we imagined at takeoff to be our destination: magnificent Monument Valley.

6175 Fairy Ring

6175 Fairy Ring

This ring of spires standing in a family circle formed a welcoming party for our tour of the valley. The textures and shapes here are far beyond what words can convey.

6209 Beyond Words

6209 Beyond Words

Even this wider view of a large portion of the main sculpture garden can’t compare with being immersed in the whole panorama.

6218 Giant Gallery

6218 Giant Gallery

Some of the stones defy logic, like the one at left with an angular hole clear through it.

6257 Window Spire

6257 Window Spire

It’s easy to see faces and other human shapes in these ancient stones, making us wonder if ever in the dim past humans or some other hand had worked them.

6274 Totems

6274 Totems

The back of the “Egyptian falcon” spire at the right in this pic even has a square window!

6297 Square Cutout

6297 Square Cutout

One last view, as we left the valley headed for Flagstaff. We saw many deep winding water cuts into rock like this, so I included this one for your enjoyment.

6348 Stone Snake

6348 Stone Snake

The show certainly didn’t stop here, but it’s late and we may backtrack a little to fly over the Grand Canyon tomorrow before turning toward home. What a day this has been!

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