Reaching New Heights in Monument Valley

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Monument Valley is almost the wrong name to describe this place. With its vast expanse of peculiar rock formations, jutting caverns and impressive natural architecture, it is clear from first sighting that this area exudes originality; it could commemorate nothing, literally everything lives in its shadow.

Driving along the single road which meanders through the valley, there is a deafening silence as it seems that even nature is reluctant to distract from the staggering valley before us. Perhaps the impressive sight of the area consumes us: other senses are seemingly shut down.

As the car enters the first of the dramatic rock formations, the panoramic view becomes a metaphor for the experience: so heightened; so intense; so overpowering. In the past a place where budding Cowboys and Indians roamed, followed by the film crews which documented their tales, it is unsurprising that they would choose such a landscape; its rugged finesse and unattainable heights confound logic and create an inspirational backdrop for the romantic adventures of days gone by.

I remember thinking how the swirling curvature and layers of some of the rocks resembled cake mixture, insignificant, perhaps, but this encapsulates the entire feeling of visiting this place. It is almost a child-like creation, embracing imagination and rejecting limits, the area in which one might imagine a chocolate sweet encrusted house and its gingerbread inhabitants. Reality was left by the roadside. I cherished the return of childhood attitudes; the valley was an embodiment of ‘anything is possible’ and I was swept away in the mystery and wonder of the place, just like many before me.  Here it seemed as if time stood still, unchanging and consistent like the monuments, while the world turned and events continued to unfold.

Whilst the sheer scale of Monument Valley renders any human visitors insignificant, this is strangely refreshing – ironic, in such an arid and dry landscape- as the rush of our modern lives often denies us time to stop and stare. We need to have the world lifted from our shoulders to take a proper look at it.

The road goes on and on, there is no apparent end; Monument Valley is just a place to pass through: that is part of its beauty. It is one of those little (!) gems, tucked away in the corner of the world, humble despite its greatness.  It is truly unforgettable. Awe rests in the fiery orange sand, deep gradients of colour and the abundance of character in its design, such as the mitten shaped stone. For me Monument Valley distils the wonder of nature and reminds us that the world is always a surprise, and a beautiful one at that.

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