The View from the Road

This past week, I was traveling through southern Utah for business. Luckily for me, there are lots of very gorgeous roadside and hotel-window landscapes all over southern Utah. Here are a few of my favorites from the past 1,300 miles.

If you’ve never visited Monument Valley, for the love of all things holy, GO! What are you waiting for? Stop looking at the internet, get in your car, and get thee hence. It’s on the border between Utah and Arizona, and much of it is part of the Navajo Nation Tribal Park. It’s stunningly, spectacularly, amazingly, like nothing else on this planet. Fun fact (or at least a fun urban legend) – Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, based Calvin’s “Spaceman Spiff” fantasy landscapes on southern Utah! I can totally see it.


Driving into Monument Valley


Sunset in Monument Valley

I stayed at The View hotel for…well…the view. This view, to be precise. I got there around 4:30 in the afternoon as the sun was starting to set, and the colors were so saturated and rich.  And when I realized that the moon was already out, I was pretty excited. I love the deep shadows that late afternoon brings to the desert. It highlights all the contours of the land.


The moon over a monument. This place is absolutely breathtaking.

And sunrise is definitely worth waking up early. I am madly in love with that deep red.


Beginnings of sunrise in Monument Valley


Sun’s up! Monument Valley in November.


Look at those shadowy mountains in the distance. Have you ever seen so many purples in your life?

Funny thing – while I was watching the stars the night before this picture was taken, I heard scuffling and some dog-sounding noises, but since it was so dark I couldn’t really tell. I thought I saw a little black animal running around the hill underneath my balcony, but I wasn’t sure. And then in the morning, this little dude was sitting in the same spot! I think it might have been him making all the racket.


This adorable little dude was hanging out right under my hotel window in the morning.


More mountain ranges in the distance.


Sunrise casting beams of light in between monuments.

After I left Monument Valley, I headed to Kanab. On the side of the road, I stopped to take a few pictures. I must say, I love traveling through this area in the late fall. There are hardly any tourists, and it’s so peaceful. The color palette of late fall is so subtle but so striking, with a million different shades of gold and green and blue and red.


Flowers gone to seed on the roadside in Arizona.


No idea where I was when I took this picture, but look at those gorgeous striations in the rock!

After I left Kanab, I stopped at Bryce Canyon on my way home…because c’mon. How could you not stop? It’s one of those amazing geologic revelations. At first it seems like you’re just walking up a gently sloping hill thickly forested with evergreen trees, and then suddenly, POW. The earth opens up into this riot of color and shapes. As cliche as this is, photographs don’t do justice to the sheer scale of it. A camera can’t quite capture the feeling of standing on the edge of the cliffs listening to the wind howl in the hoodoos.


Bryce Canyon. Dear sweet lord, it’s beautiful there.


The clouds were moving so quickly, but for a minute they shifted and lit up the fins in the center. Amazing!

There was still snow on the ground in some places, and it was windy and chilly, but it was perfect weather for hiking. And down in the bottom of the canyon, it was still and warm and sheltered from the wind. November is definitely the best month for this kind of trip!


This place always looks like it’s glowing from the inside.

Not too shabby for a 1,300 mile trip in 3 days.
Love, peace, and thanks to the gods and goddesses of road safety,

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