Bluffs and Bears Ears

Dear Isaac and Maia,

Today was a better day for wellbeing than yesterday. I tried very hard to focus on gratitude. Anger is a reaction to a real or perceived loss. Gratitude counteracts that. I have experienced a lot of loss in my life, but I also have a lot of resilience.

So, today I woke up about 6:30 and decided to go back and spend more time at Monument Valley before the 103 degree day hit. It took 40 minutes to get there. A lot of movies have been filmed there over the years, so it’s a little expensive. It’s still run by the Navajo, so I like to imagine it helps their economy.

I also like to get a photo of my dogs in front of the famous Mitten rocks. This year turned out good! When I traveled between Grand Junction and Phoenix when your mom and Aunt Erica were kids, there was one mile marker where you could see the mittens. Erica and I always watched for the mittens.

After that, we doubled back to Goosenecks State Park. I camped here with my girls and also on my original DNP graduation trip. This year, I camped about 20 miles away, but the bends in the river are worth visiting. Some photographer thought Sazi was so cute he did a series of pictures of her . . . Maybe she will go viral.

After that came a moment I’ve been looking forward to since my last trip. The road from Goosenecks to Natural Bridges goes up a steep bunch of dirt switchbacks to the top of Cedar Mesa. It’s called the Moki Dugway. Last time, I had no idea it was like that and was too stunned to get many photos. This time, I got a lot! I love the views. I want to name my next dog Moki.

By then, it was almost noon and the heat was starting. Up at the higher elevations it was 10 degrees cooler, but still hot. We had lunch at a picnic table at the Natural Bridges ranger station and took the scenic drive. We only got out once to hike to the Kachina Bridge overlook. Kachina rode in the sportsack.

After that, we headed into Blanding. I should mention that you can see the famous Bear’s Ears (the National Monument is named for them) up there. In fact, we drove over Bear’s Ears pass getting to our next stop.

The next stop was Edges of the Cedars State Park. We have been to 7 Utah State Parks this week, 2 National Parks, 4 National Monuments and a Navajo Tribal Park. Tomorrow, Hovenweep will be added as National Monument #5.

Anyway, they have some cool ruins there and a display that works with solstice light (like the Ancient Pueblo Indians had). We got directions to Five Kiva ruins in Blanding and took a short hike there after dinner.

Now, we are back to our tent. It’s almost 10PM and still 93 degrees. I want to get up early to see Valley of the Gods before we head to Hovenweep.

I do have a lot to be thankful for. And, I’ll always be sad that I am not more important in your lives.


Grandma Hartt

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