The sun is barely carving slivers of orange and red into the early morning sky when I first peer up from my backseat pedestal. It’s not even 6 in the morning and the thought of crawling out of my stuffy warm sleeping bag into the desert chill is less than appetizing. I move slowly, contemplating how the rising sun would light up the towering spires and famously photographed Mitten Buttes of Monument Valley.
I can see the shadows of two dozen people already lining the edge of the Tribal Park. Their silhouettes move in a calculated manner as they set up their luxuriously fancy equipment in a feeble attempt at matching the natural power of the human eye.
All eyes are facing strictly East laying in wait, no doubt with expectations of grandiose time lapse and sequence shots of the changing lights illuminating scarlet colours below. They seem oblivious to the phenomenon that has me running West now.
I’ve completely forgotten about the crusty drool on the side of my mouth. My profile matches the fabric pattern of the car door I used as a pillow, and it’s been three days since I changed my clothes, mostly due to the lack of shower since departing Colorado’s Mesa Verde. I am not complaining. I’m dashing through the desert in my flimsy flip flops to climb a hardened dune. The Supermoon is minutes from sinking away in spectacular fashion. It’s sheer size and brilliance makes it feel within reach.
All at once the fire ball behind me lifts darkness from the sandstones peaks as the moon gently disappears behind the magnificent young Colorado-Plateau. I can feel the rotation of the Earth like never before.
You can’t plan for moments like these.
Had I arrived on a different evening, or chosen fancier accommodations than my trusty 4runner parked on a desert dune, this whole event may have passed me by. I often say the sacrifices made for these rare experiences are worth it. This morning, I truly believe it!
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located in SouthEast Utah/Northeast Arizona. A $20 entry cost covers the Monument Valley visitor center & museum as well as the 17 mile (27km) Valley Drive: an unpaved road circling around many of the parks most famous natural sculptures.
Valley Drive Gallery (click to enlarge any photographs and get all the details)
For more info: navajonationparks
~ An Extraordinary Story by Karina Noriega ~
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