Day 6: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona - Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Arizona/Utah.
We started the morning off hiking the White House Ruins Trail, the only hike you can actually do at Canyon de Chelly without a guide. The hike is about 3 miles roundtrip with an elevation change of 600 feet to the bottom. The ruins are from early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Navajo and Pueblo Peoples, otherwise known as the Anasazi.
The 600 ft. sheer cliff.
Oh, and the clouds were pretty epic.
At the conclusion of the hike, we began the drive to Monument Valley. Every once in a while, you kinda just need a break from driving. So you take a jumping picture in the middle of the road.
We stopped for lunch at Rough Rock where we made sandwiches in the back of my car and then climbed atop a rock formation. Also, on the navajo land, they pretty much let their animals roam free, so there were quite a few cows, horses, etc to watch out for.
We arrived at Monument Valley and made our first stop the visitors center. This was one of the few places our National Park Passes did not get us in for free, but it was only $5/person, so still not bad at all.
We camped at Goulding's Lodge campground, the only decent camping spot, unless you want to pay a Navajo family big bucks to camp on their land. Our campspot at Goulding's was one of the most expensive of the trip at $25, but we were short on options, and it included wifi and showers (not to mention, it had an awesome view)! (This was my first shower in 5 days too, so that was nice...)
Once we set up camp, we went back into the park and drove the 17 mile dirt road loop. A lot of people recommend to pay for a tour and not take your personal vehicle due to the road conditions, but I had faith in Sci and plus, I'd rather be on my own time and be able to stop whenever for however long I like. Sci ended up doing great.
Monument Valley is full of these type of rock formations. Basically, they are divided into mesas, buttes, and spires, depending on the level of erosion. The above picture, for example, is a butte.
We had originally planned on doing a hot air balloon ride over Monument Valley, but the winds were out of limits, so that got canceled. Instead, we decided to ride horses, which was also a lot of fun. (Props to Melissa for bringing her camera on her horse.)
As it got dark, we went back to our campground, where we met Matt, a kid from Germany, who had never heard of s'mores. Needless to say, we had some teaching to do.
For lots more pictures, visit the National Parks Galleries!