Desert Oasis (and Fall Color?)

Monument Valley sits at an elevation of around 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level.  Summers are generally pretty hot; however, being in the high desert, temperatures cool down rapidly when the sun goes down.  On the flip side, winters here are cold, with temperatures well below freezing and even dropping below zero at times.  It is a harsh place.  Precipitation is rare.  The valley averages just over 4.5 inches of rain annually.  The driest months are lucky to get any rain at all.  As you might suspect, vegetation is sparse.  Other than an occasional juniper, there are few trees to provide habitat for wildlife.  

One of our stops on our tour of Monument Valley was in an area with a wet creek bed.  There wasn't much water flowing, but there was enough moisture to provide for the explosion of vegetation along the banks.  I think this was the most green that we saw in the valley that day.  There was even a large cottonwood tree along the creek with yellowing leaves, showing the tell-tale signs of autumn.  The color contrast in this area was amazing, with the deep blue sky overhead, the red rock formations and sand all around, and this oasis of green and yellow in the middle of it all.  See for yourself in the images below.  Don't forget to click the images to see them full size.

This bit of color was a welcome site for us on this day.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  

More to come...