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Monument Valley Part 3 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Continued from Part 2

Before you decide to embark on the self guided tour, a word to the wise. The roads are unpaved and extremely rough, your car suspension is sure to suffer! In dry weather they are very, very, dusty and your car, and it' s interior if you open the windows, will soon be covered in a film of red dust. Rain showers are sudden and heavy, especially in summer months, pot holes and gullies soon fill up and become mini lakes and fast flowing streams, quickly becoming hazardous to drive through.

If you are driving a rental vehicle, check out your agreement as many do not cover you for driving on unpaved roads and if the vehicle gets damaged, or you become stuck, you may be liable. Of course you could experience no problems whatsoever, but forewarned is forearmed.

As an alternative you could choose to take guided tour from one of the many Navajo Indian tour operators who work within the park. All offer a variety of tours from the basic 17 mile guided tour to scenic and cultural tours lasting up to three and a half hours. There are also horseback tours, moonlight tours and dining tours available. There is no requirement to book in advance although a quick online search will give you an idea of the tours available and the up to date costings. We opted for the two and a half hour scenic and cultural tour which at a cost of $75 per person was not cheap but which we felt offered good value for money and an opportunity to see a little more than the basic scenic drive whilst at the same time negating any risks to our rental car.

As well as the scenic drive, our tour enabled us to drive through some of the restricted, private areas of the lower valley and view The Suns Eye, The Ear of The Wind, Big Hogan and Moccasin Arch, amongst other rock formations. We should have been able to view the petroglyphs and pictograms at the Anasazi ruins but, unfortunately, due to earlier heavy rains, a temporary lake had formed in front of the area we would have visited and was currently occupied by a herd of wild horses.

The cultural part of the tour took in a visit to a pair of Hogans, traditional Indian dwellings which have both a male and a female form. Here we were able to view a rug making demonstration and there was the opportunity to purchase Native American Indian jewelry had we wished.

Our guide was knowledgable and friendly, and did her utmost to make our tour informative and enjoyable. she told us stories of her childhood spent on the reservation where her grandparents still live, before she moved to a modern home in the nearest town. We were able to stop whenever we wanted in order to take photographs and our guide suggested some unusual and amusing shots for our album.

Monument Valley is quite isolated, it is a long way from other places you might be visiting, so it is a full days trip and unless you stay over locally it means an early start and a late finish! We drove from Page Arizona to Monument and after spending about five hours in the valley we then drove to Flagstaff Arizona, en route to Phoenix.

Having said that, if you get the opportunity to visit the area then it' s not to be missed!

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