American adventures on Amtrak- Part 8 – Durango to Flagstaff via Monument Valley

We had a quiet night in Durango – still trying to process the scenery that we had seen on the past couple of days, knowing that there was much, much more to come! We stayed at the Doubletree by Hilton which was lovely, we had a nice balcony overlooking the river Colorado and it was very quiet.

Next day and another early start, but we were all excited as today was the day we were travelling through Navajo country into Monument Valley. Jeff, our coach driver/tour guide was fantastic, pointing out the sights to see. Our first stop was at Twin Rocks Trading Post, situated just below some impressive sandstone sculptures.

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Our next stop was absolutely breathtaking – not often you can silence an entire coach full of Brits, but this spot sure did – Goosenecks State park, an impressive canyon with some neat river meanders. Absolutely amazing. (click on pics for full res)

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Next stop was the eagerly anticipated Monument Valley, with pictures stops in various locations, including the spot where we all shouted…”Run, Forrest, Run”….

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We stopped for lunch just beyond Monument Valley at the place where Jeff Wayne used to stay when he was filming wild west films. It had a cool museum with loads of photos of them filming various movies etc. We ate traditional Navajo food, Frybread with beef stew for me and chilli for Keith. Delicious – and amazing to think we fancied such hot food despite it being high 30s outside!

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On our journey from Monument Valley to Flagstaff we passed several traditional Navajo houses, called Hogans, and made out of sandstone. These days, Navajo People are becoming more westernised, many living in trailers (to use they look like static caravans). Apparently this is because they never can buy the land they live on, it belongs to the ‘Navajo people” – so rather than building permanent houses, living in trailers offers them the luxury to move to a different patch of land as and when they want to.

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We arrived at our hotel for two nights in Flagstaff just in time for Happy Hour and a dip in the gorgeous outside pool before having dinner with some of our group. Next day, we had a free day so enjoyed a pool day and also exploring the hotel “Nature Trail”- a 1.5 mile circuit through the woodland. A lovely way to spend our free day.

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