At a place called Navaho National Monument, sometimes referred to as the gateway to Monument Valley, is a marvelous park and campground. What makes it so good is the fact that it is free. There are actually two campgrounds, one with water, flush toilets, and paved parking, and the other high on a ridge with great views into the surrounding canyons. I chose the one on the ridge, even though it was more primitive, and spent four days there.
There was some heavy rain that came through on Saturday so I didn’t do much the first day. I found out on Sunday that they have a guided tour to the cliff dwellings every morning so I signed up on the Monday list. Back at camp I met a nice couple traveling in a VW campervan. They had also signed up for the tour and we had a nice visit that continued into a nice friendship for the next two days.
The tour to Betatakin cliff dwellings was quite a hike. It is only 3 miles round trip but you descend over 700 feet into the canyon on I don’t know how many 100’s of steps to the bottom, until the trail delivers you to the front of the ruins. No one is allowed in the ruins but they do take you close to the site. The guide was very good and interesting. Betatakin is the second largest cliff dwelling in AZ., the largest being Keet Seal, which most people hike to from the campground as an overnight backpacking trip.
Today I stopped at Glenn Canyon Dam to take the tour. The elevator was broke so all they had was a walking tour of the top of the dam. It was really quite interesting to hear the history of the construction and mind boggling numbers of tons of concrete, miles of shoreline, volumes, watts of power, and politics of water distribution to the various states. The whole area around Lake Powell and the recreation area was swarming with tourists so I decided to go on over to the west to find a campsite. Just outside of Page AZ, I found a Walmart with several RVs already parked for the night. So I joined them.
It is amazing how many people are traveling in rental Class C’s. A lot of the travelers are from overseas. They fly into LA, pick up their rental motorhome, tour the southwest and return the rig to someplace on the West Coast a few weeks later. I’m sure they could rent a car and stay in motels a lot cheaper, but I guess they want the experience of roughing it American style.