Since getting our camper in May, we’ve ventured out on 2-3 day trips mostly nearby trying to get a better feel of how the truck handles and getting familiar with camper. Like a house, getting comfortable and organized took sometime. We’ve since gotten much more familiar with how to deploy for the night and packing light to minimize additional weight on the truck.
In late August, we decided to go back in late September to Chaco Cultural National Park to see the amazing structures and enjoy the night sky again. We had a great time last year and decided to go back there along with another visit to Bisti Wilderness, a area managed by Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This time Jan’s sister and cousin joined us. I also wanted to visit Monument Valley again, this time going to Hunt’s Mesa. Pretty much, anywhere in Monument Valley, if it is off the main loop, you will need a guide to take you in as it is the Navaho Nation.
My attempts to get the night sky is still littered with bad images as I’m struggling with the focusing. I should have taken the time to download the images the night I take them to review, but I didn’t. The following image is an attempt to get the Milky Way in the background with the truck in the foreground. I should have taken two shots at different focusing points. Here it is anyway just to give you an idea of the amazing view of the night sky at Chaco Canyon:
Bisti Wilderness is a fascinating place with very unusual landscape. Upon exit from the main highway, you travel a gravel road for about 5 miles. We hiked in about 3 miles and spent a day there. No facilities and water, so we needed to take our food and water in for the day. It was overcast most of the morning, then giving way to blue skies and light clouds in the afternoon.
I wanted to return to Monument Valley this year for one purpose, to go to Hunt’s Mesa. As with most of Monument Valley, if you venture out of the main tourist loop road, you will need an Navaho guide to take you there. We decided to splurge and hire an overnight trip to Hunt’s Mesa to get the sunset and sunrise photos. We were lucky as it was just two of us that met our guide at the View Hotel for the 2 hour, 4 wheel drive up the Mesa. I don’t recall ever experiencing such a ride in a Suburban that could climb rocks the way our guide skillfully did. I took videos, but it doesn’t do justice to the live experience we had. After reaching the western end of Hunt’s Mesa, our guide dropped us off to take pictures while he went to eastern end to setup camp. About an hour after sunset, he picked us up and headed to camp where we were served a wood fire cooked meal of steak, corn-on-cob, potatoes, and fresh salad. We then retired to our tent for the night as the air descended into the 40′s. We got up before the sunrise and took a short trip to the outlook to take photos.
After returning back from Hunt’s Mesa the following morning, we ventured down the valley in our truck. The loop through Monument Valley is a dirt/sand road that gets rough in some places. Going down the series of switchbacks near the View Hotel was easy, returning up with my camper on the back of the truck was another story. I had to move to 4WD a couple of times when the truck struggled getting past a couple of areas on the switchback.