Mystery Valley

Our second day in Monument Valley was spent on an all day tour of the area.  The first part of the day, we visited some of the well-known areas in Monument Valley by way of our excellent guide (Harry).  In the afternoon, we left Monument Valley and entered into Mystery Valley to continue our tour.  There is no public access to Mystery Valley, so a guide is a must, and Harry was up to the task as he expertly navigated the deep sand and rough roads to take us deep into the backcountry.  Mystery Valley is known as a former dwelling place for the Anasazi, or "Ancient Ones", as there are some remains of their homes as well as centuries-old rock art.  As with Monument Valley, the desert landscape is a vast and harsh, but beautiful place.  Sandstone rock formations abound, and we got the chance to explore a few of them.

Our first stop was at this skull along the 'road', which makes one wonder what is in store for the day...  

Harry referred to this tree as the 'broccoli tree', indicating that vegetables do grow in the desert...

Vegetation in this region is sparse, and what little there is has to adapt to extreme conditions and have a deep root system to reach moisture.  Notice in the image below that the grass has formed concentric circles as it blows in the wind.  

I like looking for opportunities to capture a starburst in my images, and the broccoli tree was the perfect subject.  Just place the sun so that it just peaks around the edge of something, stop down the aperture to f/22, and give it a try sometime.  Of course, care should be taken to not look directly at the sun through the viewfinder. 

Another skull!

Hope you enjoy the images.  Don't forget to click on them to see them full size.  Come back later as I continue on the journey...