Searching is half the fun. Finding it is the other half.

We turned north this weekend to Monument Valley, on the AZ/Utah border. We have visited here more times then we can count, and yet it always feels new. The experience is relative to weather, time, season, sun direction, and people. Today, the monsoon on the way up brought us brilliant skies, and a refreshed landscape.

This week Tina of the Lens-Artists community asks us to join her for a Treasure Hunt. So, with my camera in one hand and Tina’s list in the other, we ventured down to the Navajo Tribal Park to search. Want to come along?

Treasures of Monument Valley:

A Truck: We arrived late in the day, as the rain was heading north, and too late to go on the Tribal Center’s 17-mile scenic drive. The plan would be to wake up early and enjoy a clearer day. The view from the hotel’s overlook is always deep breath, stunning. Look again. The last truck leaving the road for the night brings insight to the vast landscape.

The Sun/Moon: I believe the silhouette is a mere suggestion introducing the sun to the moon. Good morning.

Clouds: Daylight gifts us with clouds dancing across the sky, and the Earth.

And later, The Valley of the Gods taunt us with rain.

Children: The most fascinating finds come from the culture of the Navajo people. The roadside stands are brimming with handmade items that reflect their culture. The instruments, dream-catchers, jewelry, fry bread, and even photos to iconic ledges on horses, allow you to walk in their footsteps.

And I wonder, if this little girl knows how sacred and mesmerizing this place is, or if she just loves her puppy?

Pets: Horses are commonplace, and while many are owned by businesses and used for rides to more sacred places, many roam free. On a different visit, I asked a Navajo elder who the wild horses belong to.

Without hesitation he said: the people.

Reflection: Rain is a welcome gift to the Navajo, and a treat for those of us living in the southwest. Mud was on his list of priorities. Puddle Reflections became a fun, separate project for me.

Autumn: The weather has changed. The heat has taken a backseat to more tolerable temperatures, and plant-life looks relieved. Cottonwood trees lace the streams, and make an attempt at yellow for autumn, but it will be another few weeks. Instead, I found unique ground cover that mimicked the purple hills, along with yellow shrubs to contrast them.

Fun Finds: Interpretation to fun is relative to the one looking back at you in the mirror, and it is almost always different to both of us.

For him it is windows up, pedals down. Yes, he learned the hard way to remember the heads up memo.

This time, for me, it was meeting this recent college grad who was traveling the country before real life begins. The picture reflects another story. She grabbed a personal goal as a motivator, and a way to pass time while continuing her studies.

During covid restrictions, she decided she would teach herself to do a handstand. She mastered it and now she poses at landmarks across the country, for no other reason than, she can. Cool find. Don’t you agree?

Wind Kisses, Donna

Thank you again for all the responses to my Over The Hill challenge last week. I was floored by all the interpretations. I genuinely loved experiencing different parts of the world, photo passions, personal challenges, curiosities, and landscapes unique to daily lives.

I think the Lens-Artists community offers not only challenge, but unique engagement to those of us with a common love, photography. I am so grateful to those who continue to encourage us through the weekly challenges, here, and also to everyone else who pops in to bring other insight.

Thank you again.