Adventures in the American West: The Four Corners

‘For West is where we all plan to go some day…It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go. It was just where I went.’-Robert Penn Warren

I cannot pinpoint when visiting the Four Corners was near the top of my bucket list but it is…or should I say, was! I am sure as a kid the draw was that you could be standing in four places at once-Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. I mean, it is still very cool and unique. But as an adult, the lure was I have been thwarted my entire life in going! I have memories of discussions on our family roadtrips across the American Southwest about going but for reasons, we never made it*. I thought I had my chance last summer when I went to Southern Utah but due to Covid, it was closed. I cannot underscore enough how truly determined I was to go on this trip.

The Four Corners is about an hour and a half from Monument Valley so I was going to hit the Four Corners on my way. I had pre-purchased my ticket for Monument Valley for Tuesday and it is about a sixteen hour drive from Spokane. In order to have my dreams come true, I left for my trip immediately after work on Sunday. I finished about three, stopped home to put on some sweats, swung by Starbucks for my traditional road Chai, and was determined to make it to at least Missoula, Montana. As I traveled through the mountain pass in northern Idaho, it started to snow and, due to crossing a time zone, it was dark and nearly 9 so I decided I would stay in Missoula. But it was a large enough chunk of time to make it to Moab, Utah Monday night and then Four Corners baby!

I had two options to get to the Four Corners-one through Arizona headed east or through Colorado and then south. I have never been to Colorado (well, the Denver airport but that does not count) and in order to truly cross it off the list, I needed to have done more than stand in the corner. As the time was the same, Colorado it was. Other than knocking off a state, I am so glad that I chose this route. The drive from Moab to Four Corners via the southwestern tip of Colorado was stunning. More so, I left very early and watching the sunrise over the desert was quite something. Most of my shots from this drive were just from the pullouts along the road (thus the phone lines in some the images).

Part of Navajo Nation, the Four Corners is a national monument that they control. It is $5 to access and really is just a cement pad where the four states meet-thus the name. There has been some controversy that the monument was put in the wrong place by the federal government but laws and, I believe, a Supreme Court case have confirmed this is where it is supposed to be. It is estimated that 250,000 people visit every year but as it was early on a Monday in December, there were not many there. There were a handful of stalls open where Navajo sold handmade jewelry, dream catchers, etc. There are clearly a lot more stall open in peak months.

There is not much more to the place than taking some photos being in four places at once. The vistas surrounding the park are stunning. There are some trails you can hike that will take you further in. As I was on my way to Monument Valley, I just wandered a bit. What was cool is some of the hills were reminiscent of the Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon, geology is very cool!

I am really glad that I hauled ass to FINALLY make it! Being said, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to go again unless I was with my (future) children. But knocking off a bucket list item and a new state is pretty great way to spend a Monday morning!

*Update: My dad text me after he read this post and said the reason why we did not go was the newspaper headlines the morning of were about a mysterious and highly contagious illness that was sweeping through Navajo Nation. Eventually it was determined to be cared by rodents. It was also an episode of Forensic Files-the mystery illness not our family vacation…the Griswalds we are not. So I have been thwarted by infectious diseases, thirty years a part. But I made it and did not contract Covid, so a win all around!

2 thoughts on “Adventures in the American West: The Four Corners

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