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Monument Sunrise

Monument Valley was one of my favorite places on the Desert Trip.
It was such a peaceful and calming place. We stayed at the only hotel around called The View hotel, which overlooks the giant rock formations. I woke up early to watch the sunrise, before we raced off to our next destination.  There was some snow on the ground, which was a surprising sight to me.
Sometime I’d love to return to this place, and spend a few days here, wandering around the monuments.

See my other Monument Valley Post here.

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Monument Valley

When planning a trip to the desert, Monument Valley almost didn’t make the list.

It was a bit out of the way from other sights and didn’t seem possible to fit into the tight itinerary. But we ended up extending our trip one extra day, which meant an evening could be spent at Monument Valley.

  I barely knew anything about Monument Valley, but when it got added to our trip I was so excited.  It seemed like a place I had to see!

The day that ended at Monument Valley was a long one.  It started off before seven AM at the frozen Grand Canyon, and after a quick frigid morning walk and a hot breakfast, we packed up the car and were off down the road that curved along the Grand Canyon rim.  I didn’t think the drive away from the Grand Canyon would take as long as it did, but stopping at nearly every overlook to admire the canyon views could not be avoided. We continued through the crazy desert landscape of northern Arizona, an area that ended up being my favorite part of the trip. I wished we could have spent more time in some places, but Monument Valley was waiting. 
After many hours of driving, it was nearly five PM and we were both very tired  and nearly crazy from being in the car so long, when we finally arrived at The View Hotel.




Soft Navajo music was playing throughout the hotel lobby, big windows overlooked the towering monuments that were glowing orange in the setting sun. Everything felt so calm and peaceful. I wasn’t sure I had ever been in a place as peaceful as this before.


Every room at The View hotel has a balcony which overlooks the vast rock formations that make up Monument Valley. Except for the lone car traveling occasionally down the dirt road, there wasn’t another soul in sight for as far as the eye could see.



After a little walk around the outside of the hotel, it was time to head to the restaurant inside the hotel for some traditional Navajo food. This was where we first discovered Navajo fry bread. 

Navajo Frybread is delicious, and so was the taco filling that was contained inside mine.











After diner we stared out at the monuments as the icy night arrived.

Monument Valley ending up being on of my favorite stops on the trip despite it barely making the list.

  Some day I hope to return to this place for a longer visit. 




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Sunset on the Sand


As the sun set on the first day of our beach trip, the sky turned many shades of golden pink, and illuminated the water below. The sand turned from boiling hot to refreshingly cold, but the air stayed nice and warm. It was the perfect beach evening.

The tide was going out, leaving behind hundreds of tiny shells….

(And I wanted to search through them all!)



The whole shore was washed in pastel colors!




We wandered along the beach until the sun completely disappeared and the sky turned darker and darker shades of pink and orange. 

I love the beach!

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The Sunset From Pilot Mountain and Other Fun Stories

Since we recently discovered how cool Pilot Mountain is, we decided it would be neat to go up there to watch the sunset one night. It ended up being the prettiest sunset I have ever seen!

Standing on the main observatory is boring, plus it wasn’t facing the right way to see the sun. So we walked down a path that said “rock climbers only” and it led down to this area right on the edge of the mountain where we had the perfect view of the sunset.

(Hi Mom!)



In the distance you can see the Blue Ridge mountains, and it was really fun to zoom in on them.



I love how each ridge is a different shade.




 You can see mist rising up!



I took a whole bunch of panoramas! (I’m a little obsessed with them lately)


I messed up the horizon but I actually kind of like it!




Steven took this vertical one, I had never thought to do that before!


The main reason I really wanted to get up to pilot mountain was to see the fair. You can see  the mountain from the ferris wheel so I figured you could at least see the ferris wheel from the mountain. I was expecting to be able to see it so well, like it would be this huge bubble of light. But it wasn’t. 

This is all I saw

I searched and searched and finally saw a tiiiny pink light, so I used my 300 mm lens to zoom in.
(Is that what I think it is?!!)


I zoomed into the picture as far as I could without it getting pixelated and sure enough! There’s the ferris wheel!  I was so excited!  I LOVE seeing things from far away.. 

It was an awesome evening!



Funny story:

I was uploading my photos a couple days after this and as they were uploading I realized I didn’t see my mountain photos. I had been deleting older photos the day before so I just knew I had accidentally deleted these. I was SO mad at myself!  Fast forward three hours and I had downloaded about six different un-delete programs in hopes of finding my 250 lost photos. Most of the programs couldn’t find them, but one did!  But it was gonna cost me 40 bucks to get them back because the software wasn’t free. I was about to give up but then I decided to give one of the free programs another shot, and it found them!  I was soooo happy and proud of myself!  But that was short lived because as soon as I placed my memory card back in the camera I realized that I hadn’t deleted them after all… They just got placed in a weird folder and I didn’t see them. Which explains why the programs had such a hard time detecting them, because they were never actually deleted! But on the bright side, at least now I know how to get back photos should I actually accidentally delete them in the future! And on the even brighter side at least I realized that before I decided to spend 40 dollars on them! 

These photos now have a special place in my heart.  A rather annoying place.