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  • Writer's pictureTara

Southwest Road Trip

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

In 2022 after a rough start to the year, I decided to plan a trip out to the Southwest to heal and ground myself with my family.


Monument Valley holds a special place to the Navajo People; it is considered the heart of the earth. It is at 5200 ft (approx 1500 meters) altitude, in the desert, and it sees very little rainfall throughout the year. In winter, it may snow, but it's extremely rare to experience heavy winter storms – if it does snow, normally it's just a light dusting, making Monument Valley even more magical. Well, my family experienced that magic, which I'm excited to share with you . . .

We packed up our bags and headed South for a week-long road trip in March, which is considered “off-season."

Below is our itinerary and details of our Southwest and wolf adventure.


ITINERARY:


Monday, March 7th:

  • Traveled to Civana, near Phoenix

    • Nestled in the Sonoran Desert, just outside Scottsdale, CIVANA is a new destination wellness resort that offers a regenerating experience to a wide audience of wellness travelers 14 years of age and older, as well as those simply looking for a serene and healthy get-away.

    • Ranked one of the best wellness resorts in the US.

    • It was nice, but honestly - I like We Care Spa in Palm Springs even more!

  • Learn more about healing retreats - BLOG POST.

  • 6 hr drive from LA.

  • Cost for two nights - $1,180.00 in March.

  • Checked in, explored, relaxed with an evening sound bath.


Tuesday, March 8th:

  • Full day wellness schedule - view all the complimentary options Civana has to offer!

  • Spa services - additional cost.

  • We started the day with a trampoline exercise, followed by a hike, lunch, and ended the day again with an evening sound bath under the stars.


Wednesday, March 9th:

  • Before we left for Monument Valley, we tried Horse Therapy. I’ve done horse therapy before at Sierra Tucson and I don’t recommend it at this location. It was juvenile and not fulfilling.

  • Checked out and drove 4 hr, 30 mins to Monument Valley.

  • We checked into The View Hotel. Strongly recommend this affordable hotel. The name “The View” speaks for itself. It is built into the landscape of the area and camouflages with the burnt red ground.

  • Cost $135 per night depending on the season.

This is where timing and magic happened. When we arrived there was only a sprinkling of snow on the ground. The sky was clear and blue and ideal for sunset pictures, which Marc was very happy about. The weather didn't even call for a severe snow storm the next day - we had no idea what we were in for.


Tip: I suggest packing food before traveling to Monument Valley because the restaurant options are limited. We ate Taco Bell because all the other restaurants were closed. We settled into our hotel and went to bed early since we planned for a sunrise tour.


The View Hotel has a store that sells local Native paintings, dolls, jewelry and more, we love bringing home artifacts from our adventures.


Thursday, March 10th:

When we woke up - Monument Valley was COVERED in snow! It was not what we planned for, but it turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience. Our guide,

Larry, a Navajo spirit guide, picked us up at 5:45 AM to start our trek into the park.

Larry took this pic of Marc and me.

We were 1 out of 3 cars allowed in before the park closed due to weather conditions.

We ultimately had the park to ourself. Larry shared Navajo stories and showed us rock paintings and talked about his family; but the highlight of the trip was when he took us to a cave and sang a traditional Navajo song. Tears welled up as we realized the history of the land we were standing on. There are only a few times in my life that I can pinpoint spiritual experiences based on the energy I've felt from nature and this was one of those times.

  • Navajo Spirit Tours - $100 per person and worth every penny!

  • One full day was all the time we needed in the snow, but if the weather was better we could have made 2 days out of it.

  • Below is a picture of a traditional Navajo home covered in snow.

  • After the tour we checked out and drove 2 hours to Lake Powel for Under Canvas Stargazing Tents - Glamping Blog Post.

  • Under Canvas Cost $469 for one night, they just opened and we upgraded to a stargazing tent.

  • With wood burning ovens to keep us warm - we were up a majority of the night stoking the fire since weather dipped into the negatives. A night we will never forget!

*Depending on the length of your trip, you can also visit the below locations . . .

  • Horseshoe Bend - 30 mins from Lake Powell (I’ve been before - Grand Circle Road Trip BLOG POST

  • Slot Canyons - 30 mins from Lake Powell (see above blog post)

  • Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona - 2hrs

  • Alstrom Point, Utah - 1hr 30 mins

  • The Wave - 51 minutes from Lake Powell. Need to go here: Visitor Center in Kanab for the following day. (435) 644-1300 closed Sunday/Monday Questions about the walk-in lottery: call 435-644-5033 or 435-644-1300, email utknmail@blm.gov


Friday, March 11th:

  • Checked out.

  • 7hr drive to Big Bear

  • Airbnb - checked In, explored town and ate dinner.

  • Big Bear wasn't on the way home, but we decided to stop there because I booked an afternoon with the wolves on Saturday.


Saturday, March 12th:

  • 40 minute drive to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary

  • Need cash $25pp and recommend tipping or donating to help the wolves.

  • 1000% recommend this experience - the Wolf Mama who runs the place has dedicated her life to these animals. We spent longer than our allotted time with her since we connected. She is half Native American, half Italian and by the end of our tour she was calling us family. It was so sweet.

  • They don't force wolf interactions, they let the wolves decide whether they want to interact with you and luckily these were receptive to our energy.


Sunday, March 13th:

  • 10:00 AM Airbnb checked out and we drove back to LA.

  • Overall trip budget for a week - 2k.


Hopefully this blog post inspires you to plan your next road trip to the Southwest?



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