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Peak - Monument Valley

Forrest Gump was here

Artist's Point lookout and a cool rock formation

Before leaving the Arches National Park, we wanted to do one more hike. The trail led to the Delicate Arch - one of the most famous arches in the park. After being in parks where there weren't a lot of people (except Yellowstone and Yosemite), seeing so many people on one trail in the morning was mind-blowing. There were whole families, kids on an excursion, and old folks. My guess is that we visited at a crowdy time of the year, or the trail to the Delicate Arch is classified as easy, so a lot of folks attempt it.

Artist's Point
The view in color

I remember folks were waiting in line to take a unique photo of themselves and the arch. That made me feel some type of way. Should all this delicate nature be so widely accessible? Everyone should get to enjoy it, but I'm afraid the spots like the Delicate Arch might become ruined with so many folks rushing to see it. Remember how in Yosemite I wrote about winning a park's lottery to climb a landmark? That didn't make things better, apparently. I hope nature beauties like those don't get ruined by overcrowding.

Forrest Gump sign where he stopped running in the movie

After that, we headed our way to the next destination - Monument Valley. If you watched some of the old western spaghetti movies, or Forrest Gump, or any movie set in a desert landscape, you've probably seen this place. It is situated in a Navajo Nation, a Native American reservation. The park is mostly in Arizona, but the Navajo Nation spreads through Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

A view from spaghetti Western movies

I've heard and driven through a couple of reservations in the last and this trip, but I have never seen it be so well organized. The whole park is labeled as Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, and it is completely run by Navajo people. They work everywhere in the park and are responsible for it, which was pleasing to see. We got a camping spot up there and quickly set up camp.

Black Sunset
I thought it would look better

We arrived somewhat late, so there was no point in starting a hike and getting caught by the dark in the desert. So in a truly American fashion, we drove around the park. We got lucky because there is a limit to when the last car can enter the designated roads within the park. We were 30 minutes early, and we had the pleasure of viewing the whole valley from the comfort of our car.

Some cows blocking our path

Just before the sunset started, we arrived at the Artist's Point lookout, which showcased one of the best views in the park. I quickly snapped a couple of photos with my Zenit. One of those photos is easily the most favorite one from the trip - the one called Peak. We enjoyed the sunset and returned to the camp.

A view from spaghetti Western movies

I had to do one thing before we went to sleep. Previously, at Arches, I tore apart the film in the Yashica camera somehow. I guess I wanted to wind it up for one extra shot, and it broke inside the camera. So I had to do a stealthy operation of trying to put a 35mm film into its case under a blanket in a warm tent in a desert. It turned out OK, I think, with a bit more light leaks than usual, but hey, it got developed in the end.

Beautiful sunset over Monument Valley

After the film rescue operation, we fell asleep for the first time with no covers on and no mattress in the tent. The sand we camped on was so warm and soft you didn't need anything. This was, for sure, the best sleeping night I had on the trip. Tomorrow, it was time to leave for another landmark before the big canyon.

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