Monument Valley, Arizona – Famous rocks and wonderfully macabre ghost train

At sunrise we don’t have to leave the cabin. We can shoot photos of the monoliths with the red sky from our window. Later we proceed to the 17 miles long loop drive between the huge rocks that were carved by wind and weather as well, not by water. The partially rough sand track can be made with most cars. There are the unavoidable souvenir stands at the view points. There is not much to do for the Indians in this season, and they have plenty of time to chat. Nevertheless we don’t buy anything. Up to 100 $ for a simple turquoise necklace seem somehow excessive to me. Well, they aren’t made in China but by the Navajo. But methinks that they grant themselves a considerable hourly wage. Since 1925 Monument Valley served as film screen for more than 50 movies, and hundreds of commercials and print ads. The only hike is a nice and quiet 5-km-walk at Wildcat Trail. You get the most spectacular picture with an overview to the whole valley from Artist’s Point.

We go back on # 163 north and turn via # 261 and # 316 to Johns Canyon Road. The 25 km long off-road trail is an exciting route along the steep face of Cedar Mesa on one side and the brim of San Juan Canyon on the other side – there are only three metres in-between. That’s something like riding a ghost train: It is wonderful and macabre at the same time, and you assume that everything goes well. 4-wheel-drive is necessary, and there are a couple of steep ramps and a river crossing. At some point Johns Canyon Road finishes and we have to hurry to get back since it already darkens. There is a chance of rain and we don’t want to be stuck on this track. Fortunately we know that we can camp for free at Goosenecks State Park to be reached from the highway on a paved road.

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