When people envision the West, often it’s from the old Westerns. John Ford and John Wayne placed Monument Valley forever in the Western movie lover’s mind. The last time we past by these parts Goulding’s was still an active trading post. Navajo Nation Park didn’t exist. The View Hotel wasn’t even on the horizon. What hasn’t changed is the raw beauty that varies with the light of day and the changing of the seasons. We were here for two days in early September. There is a 17 mile scenic drive you can take through the park. We opted for a Navajo guided tour to get off the beaten path. Just wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures.
A classic Monument Valley scene, The Mittens. The desert was still green from all our recent rains. It contrasted beautifully with the red rocks and sand.
Who put the W in Monument Valley? None other than the Duke, John Wayne.
We ate a lot of red dirt this day pardner! When we got back to the wagon we were pounding our shoes, pounding our clothes and shaking out our hair.
There truly was beauty all around us. You need a Navajo guide to get to this part of the park. You can take a group tour, individual tour, even explore on horseback.
You can see from all these little people the true size of this opening. Our Navajo guide had us relaxing on the rocks while he sang a traditional song.
There were windows all around us and mud too.
Here’s a couple who decided to explore the valley on horseback. We got to listen to their Navajo guide explain the petroglyphs. No one knows the true meanings, we can only speculate.
Here they are again, a little bit of water didn’t deter the horses.
A few families continue to live within the valley. They survive without electricity, gas or running water. This female hogan is used to demonstrate rug weaving. Notice the bumper stops for visitors.
Basketball is big on the rez and we discover a hoop in the valley.
It was a beautiful day. We would like to come back and explore this place in another season. There is a heart stopping amount of beauty in the Southwest. Monument Valley has lasted for millions of years and will continue to be here for future generations. It is surrounded by Arizona, Utah and the Navajo Nation. Perhaps between the three of these entities, these precious homelands will continue to be protected.
Let me know if you have moseyed around Monument Valley. If you’re so inclined share your favorite memory in the comments below.