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04 July 2009 @ 01:53 pm
Monument Valley  
The drive from Denver to back home in California was going to be a long one. I wanted to get back home before the holiday crowd takes over the national parks across the country. It is amazing how popular remote places and outdoor activities are in this country and for someone like me who prefers to be in places where there are no crowds, weekends and holiday weekends are time to stay away from national parks and such.

I left Denver early on the morning of the 2nd of July. Interstate 70 through the Rocky Mountains is an amazing road. Besides being very scenic there is a lot of wildlife next to the roads all through the mountains. I saw lots of deer and big-horned sheep. They could be traffic hazards, but it is always nice to see that they are around even if they are next to a winding freeway at 11,000 feet where vehicles speed in excess of 75 mph. I picked Monument Valley on the Utah-Arizona border as the place to stop by for the night. It wasn't exactly midway between Denver and San Jose, but I couldn't have picked a better approximate midway point.

When I got to the Navajo reservation, it was all cloudy and dark. The day was still young but I didn't have much hope to see the sun that evening. I went into the park and went for a drive on the valley floor. The overcast and low light conditions was interesting to make some photographs but when I saw horses for trail rides, I decided to go for it. Riding a mustang in the iconic western landscape can be wonderful experience but with the Navajo tour guide telling me things about Navajo culture, beliefs and tradition, it was just awesome. The weather played its part with an occasional drizzle as the Navajo horseman sung his rain song. Almost as soon as I had finished with the horse ride, the clouds opened up a bit to show the magnificent landscape of the Colorado plateau.

Here are some photographs from the Monument Valley.

Route 163

"The Three Sisters"

The morning in Monument Valley

Puddles of water on the trail have interesting reflections

Water on the trail

Buttes in Monument Valley

"Valley of the Gods"

A Butte

Navajo horseman showing me the way

Stormy evening

The trail on the valley floor

"Two Elephant Butte"

More of the iconic Buttes

My tent and campsite. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever camped in

Daybreak in the valley

Daybreak near "Totem pole"

Monument Valley!

Alikialiki on July 4th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
Absolutely stunning photography, as always.
dr_koolaimzzdakini_bones on July 5th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Do you do this by yourself or with friends?
...you go to the woods because you wish to live deliberately...etc.?
Yathinyathin on July 5th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Awesome.
Well, I sometimes travel alone and sometimes with friends. I don't have a regular group though.
(Anonymous) on July 5th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
What's with crowd hating attitude?
As usual great photos, but I am concerned about the typical SF hippy entitlement attitude of late in your posts. Must be water of Bay Area.

So crowds are not good in national parks and you don't like them? You realize not everyone works in Yahoo and is lucky like you to take weeks off from work to roam around, especially in this economy? Only opportunities for hardworking folks to travel is long weekends and that is why they flock to National Parks.

Yathinyathin on July 5th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Re: What's with crowd hating attitude?
Hello A.Coward,

Crowds are great in National Parks. It does show that a LOT of people are interested in being there and that is always wonderful. However, I like being in the parks when there are lesser people and I can do a bit to ease congestion out there by staying away during the long weekends/weekends. :-)

Edited at 2011-01-22 10:14 pm (UTC)
depontideponti on July 6th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
Re: What's with crowd hating attitude?
As someone who knows Yathin reasonably well, I would say that your criticism is unjustified. He has always been a reclusive person; he does not even attend family weddings at home!

...and he works VERY hard for those "weeks" off. Yes, you can say he is lucky to retain his job...I would use the word "competent", too.

So...in this case, at least, it is NOT the "typical SF hippy entitlement attitude".

Sorry, Yathin, I know you can stand up for yourself, but I wanted to say this.

And that's the correct name for someone who will not give their real name!

jkwgreenshadows on July 5th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yathin, it was so good to meet you! - and, well, why didn't I friend you YEARS ago?? Gorgeous photos, of a place I've always wanted to visit...thanks, and I'm looking forward to more from your tour. :)
Deborah P Kolodji: Travelerdkolodji on July 5th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Wow, these are stunning. It makes me want to get in my car and start driving East (from Los Angeles).
Seal: sweetsealwhiskers on July 5th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Glad to see and read that you had such a great adventure on your way home. Now I know how you work to get some of your great photographs, and that you're a great person to hang out with as well!
Yathinyathin on July 6th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks. The trip was awesome fun and it was good meeting you folks in Boulder! :-)
aurora_renaurora_ren on July 5th, 2009 08:45 pm (UTC)
This is Elisha from CO (Ivona's friend).
These are wonderful pictures! I don't post often, but I look forward to looking at all the pics you post from the trip.
Thanks again for dinner!
Yathinyathin on July 6th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Hi Elisha, Thanks. It is going to take a while before I can process all the images from the trip! :)
Subodhsubodhs on July 5th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
*Drool* you should be a professional photographer. Like NatGeo or something ... :-)
depontideponti on July 6th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
And now to the *actual* comment, instead of commenting on someone else's comment!

Your landscapes are nothing short of...stunning. The light is so beautifully used and captured, and the composition is superb. I don't know how much pp you do, but it is not overdone.

I think LJ readers like me are lucky to have you photodocumenting your visits! Thank you Yathin.
Melkendokamel on July 6th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on July 6th, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
You know one can't believe that when nature messes around with nature [soil erosion here] it creates wonders as compared to the rubbish left behind when we mess around with nature.
summer_jackelsummer_jackel on July 6th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
Oh, these are so beautiful. /happy sighs/

I haven't travelled in the desert much, but I find it incredibly compelling. I am a water person, at home (literally) in moist forests, comfortable traveling in mountains that see snow. The aridity of the desert both terrifies and calms me with the truth of my own mortality.
Yathinyathin on July 6th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
The desert is actually crazy when it comes to water. The great Colorado river flows right through this landscape all year, flash floods are common and there is lots of water not too far below the surface. I love the quietness of the desert as well as the never-ending symphony in the rainforests! :-)
raviksraviks on July 6th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
Brilliant.. Each one is a Wallpaper..
Me - Jealous !! :)
Aparna: Myselfinspirethoughts on July 6th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
Beautiful Pics! The whole place looks like it's out of a mythical book! How enchanting!

Why are they called "The Three Sisters"? Legend of some sort?

Where did that water come from? Rains? Or is it like an Oasis?

Hey, your tent matches to the surrounding! Nice camouflaging! Just curious, weren't you afraid to camp out there all alone? Unless, you did this trip with a group of friends. I know, it is a really silly question!
Yathinyathin on July 6th, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Every Butte has a story.

It rained the previous evening and the though it is a desert, there is a good chance of flash floods. It is a strange place.

I was alone and it is not at all scary camping alone. It is more scary to stay in a hotel in a big city (or staying at an apartment in a city for that matter!)
Aparna: Thinkinginspirethoughts on July 6th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
Hmm...I see your point of view. As much as I love to blend with nature, I cannot do it alone. I need someone with me to accompany me, at least one person with me. :) That is why I asked if you had not felt scared.
Shyam Manifox2mike on July 8th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC)
OMG! Valley of the Gods was where Airwolf was hidden away! :D
purely_narcoticpurely_narcotic on July 8th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
I think we passed by Monument Valley when B and I were driving down to CO and we didn't even know we did! No wonder the place looked familiar!