The Natural and Manmade Monuments still Standing

A really great side effect of being open to any travel that comes my way is being open to other people’s travel bucket lists. Everyone I know has places that they want to go but before this year I felt like I never knew what they were. Now when I mention something on my list, I’m always met with a dream from someone else’s list. It’s kind of amazing.

So when I started planning a four day weekend trip to Utah, I listened when a friend told me the greatness of Monument Valley. It was basically on the way so it made sense to stop for a bit.

Little did I know this was an iconic movie shot from one of my all time favorite movies: Forrest Gump. After some research, I found the exact spot where Gump famously decided to stop running after 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours.

Originally on the roadtrip we were gonna spend the night in Gallup, NM and start our drive early to try and catch sunrise at the Valley. Having so much time on this particular trip meant I procrastinated planning and therefore didn’t book the Airbnb until the night before. And of course every home I’d saved was gone. But this turned out great because we found a great place in the heart of Monument Valley!

We powered through the nighttime drive and I’m so so freaking glad we did because we ended up catching sunrise from the backyard. This was actually a mishap since we wanted to drive 15 min to get shots from the road, but my phone went wonky and my alarm never went off. But what a lucky happenstance! Because we ended up with fresh coffee, lots of blankets (it was so cold), and no stress. Plus a tire swing! Yeah, a tire swing!

After catching a magnificent sunrise, and snapping some early morning pics in the Gump spot, we headed on our way to our first National Park stop. Along the Monument Valley drive we saw so many amazing cliffs. And some so oddly shaped like “Mexican Hat” (which is the picture below).

Hovenweep National Monument is a collection of ruins where people used to live. It includes six prehistoric structures in various levels of disarray set in a large circle that makes for a nice hike. It was a bit chilly but overall it was nice to stretch our legs and cross off a National Park site.

Driving all morning in a new state (my first time in Utah!) with plenty of time for stopping was such a relaxing change of pace. Usually, I’ve got such a strict schedule on trips because of the lack of time. Because we had four days, my goal was really to leave a lot of time and create a no-stress roadtrip. Any time we saw something interesting or wanted to take some pics in the middle of nowhere – we did! It was really great and I hope to have the opportunity for more four day weekends in my future!

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