Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fear and Near Death Experiences on the Road to the Valley of the Gods

We are byway sort of people, easily straying down scenic routes in lieu of speed.  We figured there was no way we were going to miss seeing something called, "Valley of the Gods."  It sounded too spectacular to miss.  Minding, we are traveling with a U-Haul trailer full of everything we will need to move into our fifth wheel when we get to Michigan, we probably wouldn't have chosen this particular route, had we known what was to come.  Somehow, the lady living in my GPS failed to mention a few things to me about this course...  like the fact that after traveling for an hour down a boring single-lane highway, we'd be dumped onto a one-car-wide gravelly road without guardrails studded with yellow cautionary speed limit signs of 5 mph. 

 Don't let the vastness of the view distract you from the danger here.  We are probably 400 feet above the rocks to the left in the foreground of the below photo, and the valley floor is drastically further dooooown *I say, lowering into baritone, bass, then sounds only audible to elephants*.
 After the pavement ended, there was no space for a massive, huge-turning-radius dually truck to turn around.  Worse yet:  not with a u-haul trailer.  We were stuck.
 I stood at the top, taking these photos and thinking, "what have I got my little family into?" I pulled my navigator out of the car.  "Nevan, I don't think we can do this.  In a car, sure!  In this truck, maybe!  But down that 10% grade on gravel with our overweight vehicle pulling a trailer on tight turns dropping off to eternal rest?  No, I don't think so."  

We walked around, seeking any way we could turn around. There simply wasn't enough space. We had two options.  Option #1: Put the Tortoise (our truck) in reverse and carefully back up the trailer for possibly miles down that lonely highway until there might be a space wide enough to do a 15-point turn around.  Option #2 Certain death-- or rather, go down it.  

We actually thought option 1 was best, but we had concerns that we'd get stuck and back up the byway until someone could tow us out, and we were in the  middle of absolutely nowhere.  We decided to put it to the Lord.  

We said a prayer.  I immediately knew we'd be alright going down, so long as we were careful and alert.

Down we decided to go.

Every turn spooked us a little, but we just hugged the side of that cliff as tightly as we could and pressed on knowing we'd received our answer and that we'd be safe.  

Blossom (the dog) had clearly not received the same answer and was worried about her babies.  She could sense the danger of our situation, and though I've never seen her do this before or since, she climbed up and sat at the feet of the baby between both girls.  She's protective of us.  Usually from birds and harmless doorbell ringers, but today, she protected us from certain death.
We made it down the mountain. I would have liked a photo from the bottom, but the road was too narrow for me to stop to take one.  Regardless, we successfully maneuvered that scary mountain: all over-thirty feet of us.

The Valley of the Gods is the gateway to Monument Valley.  When arrived at the bottom, these beautiful mountains greeted us, devoid of plant life, but abundant in chevron-painted style.
 The last town before Monument Valley is Mexican Hat.  It sits below this rock formation.
Finally, a day later than planned, we were headed to Monument Valley.

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