TRAVEL – trek america’s grand trek: monument valley

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valleyAfter two days ticking the Grand Canyon off of our bucket lists, it was time to say hello to Navajo nation!

On the way there we stopped off at a Navajo gift shop where I bought my girls back home a little handmade dream catcher, before visiting a small Native American museum which was really insightful. For those Forrest Gump fans out there, we also paid a little pit stop to that famous scene before finally arriving at Monument Valley!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley run forrest run stopthat famous ‘run Forrest’ run’ scenelinebreak

As we would be spending the night in the valley with no showers, we packed an overnight bag (which consisted of a hoodie, shorts, flip flops, sleeping bag, pillow and clean underwear aha) and placed it in the 4 X 4 jeep for our tour!

The jeep tour was so good! We had a slightly crazy ,but happy guide called Jamie who kept doing Woody the Woodpecker impressions and told us all about Navajo life. Our first stop on the tour was a female hogan where a Native American lady showed us how they made their beautiful blankets and even demonstrated a typical Native American hairstyle on one of the girls from the other tour groups.

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley view 1travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley view 2travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley - welcome signmonument valley views, ‘welcome’ hogan signlinebreak

Jamie then took us to a large natural hogan where we laid down, closed our eyes and listened to him playing the flute. It was so peaceful, and it really made you think just how lucky you are to be in such an amazing place.

All was calm until, you guessed it – a thunderstorm was approaching (typical trek!) But like the troopers we are (we handled Cedar Point, so we can pretty much handle anything), we embraced the weather and made it to our next stop – a rock formation up a massive hill of red sand. We all had a little race to the top and back down before it started pelting it down. Talk about perfect timing!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley hogantravel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley sunset lightningrock formation, thunderstorm during sunsetlinebreakJamie was so nice at this point and traded in our roofless jeep for a van, whereas the rest of the tour groups made their way back in the rain! Go us! As the rain calmed down, we met with the other groups and had a Navajo dinner – Indian fried bread with onions, lettuce, beans and a buffalo steak. It was so delicious and was a refreshing change to pizza.

Entertainment then followed with a Navajo showing us their traditional dances such as ‘the sneak up’ and ‘duck and dive’ in their Rennailla (it’s disrespectful to call what they were wearing a costume). I felt very privileged to experience a different culture and learn things from their perspective. What’s more, they even got us to join in and have a dance off!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley - foodtravel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley entertainmenttraditional food, Navajo entertainment
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When the entertainment ended, it was time to head to our special hogan for the night. Me, Polly, Bobbi, Dave and Matty decided to sleep out under the stars, whilst the others decided to spend the night in the hogan. After the thunderstorm, the weather had calmed down and it was such a beautiful night, so we thought we’d take advantage of it! The sky was so clear and the stars were twinkling – it was such a surreal moment and we even saw shooting stars!

About an hour until we had to wake up, it started spitting (what’s new there aha?) so luckily, we ran into the hogan and joined everyone before the rain hit us again. It was nice staying in the hogan and outside it, and to say we were all smelly, dirty and tired, it’s a moment that I’m sure we’d do again in a heartbeat!

travel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley sunrise hearttravel - trekamericas grand trek day 29 monument valley sunriseshowing our love for monument valley, sunrise
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After an hour’s sleep in the hogan, we packed up our stuff and went to watch the sun rise, which was quite possibly the best sunrise I have ever seen in my life! The silhouettes of the rocks and the colours in the sky were so beautiful!

After an amazing day and night, it’s time to say goodbye to Navajo nation and head to New Mexico! Did someone say tequila?

sigyhl

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TRAVEL – trek america’s grand trek: cedar point, ohio

travel - trekamericas grand trek - day 3 cedar point ohioAfter a couple of days of long drives and sightseeing, today we finally got to let our hair down and visit the Rollercoaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point!

With predictions of thunderstorms and scattered showers, we put on our best brave faces and headed to the theme park. It was so much fun to head out as a group and go on a few rollercoasters together such as The Gatekeeper and Wicked Twister. The sun was shining and as I was getting badly sunburnt (classic move not applying sun cream Sarah), I thought for a split second ‘wow it actually might not rain…’

travel - trekamericas grand trek - day 3 cedar point ohio th gatekeeper the gatekeeper
linebreakBoy, in a few hours’ time was I wrong! After splitting off into little groups for a while, we all met back up to tackle some water rides – Thunder Rapids and Snake River Falls. As we all got onto Snake River Falls and were ready to set off, it suddenly started pouring down with rain. Yep, we were about to go on a water ride and get absolutely soaked by not only the ride itself but also by the thunderstorm! All we could do in that moment was laugh as the ride attendant had already pressed the ‘go’ button. Needless to say, we all got very wet!

travel - trekamericas grand trek - day 3 cedar point ohio snake river fallssnake river falls
linebreakOnce we got off the ride, we sought shelter and got chatting to some of the theme park staff who were amazed by our English accents. After what seemed like forever waiting for the rain to stop, it finally did. A few of us wanted to try Millennium Force, the world’s only steel rollercoaster but due to the thunderstorm it had closed. We all decided to wait for 20 minutes to see if it would open up again, but after being super-soaked and with the fear of flooded tents beginning to set in, we decided to call it a day and head back to camp.

travel - trekamericas grand trek - day 3 cedar point theme park ohiocedar point
linebreakWhen we arrived back at camp, we saw that some of the group’s tents had flooded. At that point we wanted to get cabins but Steve was adamant that we could cope. To top off the flooded tents the rain had picked up again, and another thunderstorm was brewing. To add a further blow, me, Matty and Marc still had to cook. So there we were, cooking in a thunderstorm in ankle deep water getting bitten by mosquitos. What had started out as such a fun-filled day had brought the whole group to a major low point. That night a few members of the group went bowling, but deciding to call it a day, I went to bed… only to find out that my sleeping bag was locked up in the trailer and Steve had gone bowling with the other guys...

Words could not describe our luck that day… but hey, it could have been worse, I could have been sick on the rides like Aussie Dave…

sigyhl

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(Image one credit to Bobbi, rest from Google Images)