Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trippy Pics

Well, southeast Utah. We'd left the utterly forgettable town of Blanding Utah, turned right where the map indicated "picturesque", and had enjoyed a very nice drive through one of the many unknown massive vast valleys in which this part of the country specializes. Then, back to rather bland, flat, high chaparral. Thinking we'd seen what there was to see and on to Monument Valley. Driving the speed limit: 65 m.p.h. on a paved two lane road. Miles and miles of this. Suddenly, a non sequitur: signs warning us the speed ahead was 35; the road itself turning to gravel. Too weird; not possible! Suddenly, we flamed out onto this precipice. It doesn't matter the speed you are going, if you are unprepared for the earth to immediately fall away a thousand feet at your feet, it is hair-raising. Gasps from everyone in the car, including hizzoner the driver.

It is called the Valley of the Gods.
There are these ghostly stone monuments, themselves a thousand feet tall, scattered throughout a 25 mile valley as far as eye can see.

The hairpins were paved; the rest was dirt.

Looking back to where we'd just come.
Monument Valley, which I had come to know about through the novels of Tony Hillerman, was spectacular, but really. How much eye candy can one mere Midwesterner ingest in one day's drive?

The photos, of course, do not do justice to the view.


Elephantschild said...

Westerners need grand, humongous gestures of beauty. I don't think they're sophisticated enough to grasp the beauty of a plowed field laying in quiet mist at the bottom of a gently rising moraine.

(Aw, I'm just teasing. Awesome pictures, Bruce!)

Bruce Gee said...

The idea of making a living in this wild and desolate place is beyond me. Selling jewelry by the side of the road is about all they've got. I was repeatedly struck by the strong contrast between the beauty of the natural region and the ugly impact of human life there. Clearly, the natural beauty does not sustain, at least the way people are living now. Stark poverty. Whoever dwelled in these places for thousands of years actually knew better how to live than the current occupants. They are in limbo, not able to live the stark life of their predecessors, and not able to make it as modern people. Or am I just being a judgmental tourist?

Elephantschild said...

No, I think you're on to something. I don't think all place on Earth are equally suited to human life.

Sin really has left its mark on creation, hasn't it?

Ethan said...

Amazing pictures, anyway. Somewhat jealous you got to go through Monument Valley--watching too many John Ford movies gave me a strong desire to go there someday.