September 18, 2012. A last look at La Sal Mountains - as seen through morning haze.
At Needles Overlook - which is part of Canyonlands National Park. Park rangers said haze was due to California forest fires.
The foreground - in close-up.
This view reminded me of The Grand Canyon.
Upon leaving, I came across a colored rock outcropping with sinuous surface features.
'Newspaper Rock' is a bit Southwest, on SR 211. It's packed with ancient Indian petroglyphs.
This view greeted me just after cresting a hill on SR 163 - South of Bluff, UT.
Same spot, but shifted a bit to the right. Driving on smaller roadways out West is such a joy for me.
Further on, I turned off SR163 to pass through 'The Valley of the Gods'. Many lovely scenes awaited me there.
The road from 'The Valley...' leads directly to Muley Point Overlook.
From this level, even buttes of Monument Valley can be seen on the horizon - far right.
Foothills with scalloped bands are found very near the little town of Mexical Hat.
The town picked its name from this rock formation.
Early the next morning, before dawn, I met my Navajo guide and friend Harry, for trip into Monument Valley.
Pre-dawn light provides for some interesting silhouettes.
The sun can't wait any longer. It's expected to appear between the central and right-most butte.
There it is!
And just a few minutes later, it's airborne and on its grand way.
First rays just begin to touch sand...
while butte tops already enjoy a full glow .
Eventually, sands begin to feel warmth as well.
I wonder how many sun-lit days this tree has enjoyed?
Later in the day, Harry drove us to 'Copper Canyon', where he grew up.
It was the most beautiful and remote place I've ever visited.
During our 4+ hours of off-roading, we stopped at the remains of an ancient Kiva.
This structure has been standing for hundreds of years, and a huge bolder is part of the wall. It must have given the location a very special significance.
Further on, we found an oasis that provided water for his family and the sheep they raised.
One expects to see vast stretches of sand surrounding an oasis.
But this one is bordered by rocky buttes, of every color and shape.
The oasis stands in great contrast to its surroundings.
Tracks across the dunes (near top) are likely from wild donkeys. Ocassionally we could hear their braying, from far away.
Otherwise, patterns in the sand can arise only from strokes of Nature.
Harry said he and his cousins used to climb to the top of this butte as youngsters. It's severall hundered feet above the desert floor.
He told an interesting tale about chasing a wild colt for a long distance, until finally he was able to touch it - and Harry ran barefoot. What a feat for a young boy.
This is what's left of the house where Harry and his family lived. There are no other dwelings for miles around.
Here's Harry with me in Monument Valley. The View Hotel is behind us.