Friday, August 6, 2010

Flashback Friday - Monument Valley

Flashback Friday is a segment where I "entertain" you with photos and captivating prose about places we've traveled since we've been on the road. So sit back, and hopefully, enjoy.

If you ever want to take a vacation where you want to see the natural beauty of our land, to feel insignificant compared to the vastness of it's size, then Monument Valley is just the place. It is located on the Utah/Arizona border and is on Navajo land.

This is the scenery just driving TO Monument Valley. Please click on each photo to enlarge them to see how truly beautiful it is around this area.

Our campground was nestled among the beautiful red rocks and was on the Navajo Reservation. Here are some pictures of the campground.

Looking out as the setting sun reflects off of the beautiful rock formations in the distance.

That's our truck, Big Blue, and our trailer, first in line.

We had no cell service there, which meant no internet, either (we use an air card for service). I had to use a pay phone to call family members. When was the last time YOU used a pay phone? Think about it! Anyway, I called my sister one afternoon. She was having a hard time hearing me for two reasons a) bad connection and b) her grandkids were acting up. So I said, quite loudly, I might add, "The NATIVES are restless?"

Oh yes I did.

After I uttered the words I quickly looked around to see if anyone heard me. Nobody was standing near the phone, but the gift shop doors were open and possibly the woman inside heard me. I was SO EMBARRASSED! I can honestly say that I had NEVER uttered that phrase before in my life! Where did it come from? It was like I had temporary TOURETTE'S SYNDROME or something.

Okay, back to the tour.

You can drive a few miles into Monument Valley on your own, but to see some really good things, you should really take a tour. Since it IS a reservation, you have to go with a guide to see more of the valley. These are pictures from that tour.

First we stopped at this traditional Navajo home, called a "Hogan".

Inside was this Indian woman who showed us how they spun wool, ground corn, braided their hair, and even how they positioned their legs so they could sit for long hours.

I can't remember what this structure is for, but I liked the look of it.

This is the view from the visitor's center. If you enlarge this, you will see a white car driving on the road off in the distance. You will get an idea of exactly how large the valley is and the structures that rise out of the ground. In this photo are the right and left mittens.

We drove way far in to see this beauty.

Now to get an idea of the size of the rock, look how small the people are in front of it!

Wide, open spaces interrupted by these huge rock sculptures. I almost felt like we were on Mars with all the red rock.

This is called the Three Sisters.

This is called The Big Hogan. I love the way the sun is shining through the hole in the top of the rock.

It's so easy to imagine Navajos from so long ago carving these into the stone, standing in the very same spot as I was that day. I was very overwhelmed.

If some of these sights look familiar to you, you might remember them from the movies. Many movies were filmed in Monument Valley such as My Darling Clementine, The Searchers, How the West Was Won, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, and Fort Apache. As a matter of fact, one night the local hotel was showing "The Searchers" with John Wayne, so Jim and I went over to watch it. It was cool to spot the landmarks in the film that we had seen that day on our tour.

Monument Valley is a wonderful place to visit, and a photographer's dream to photograph. I would recommend this place to everyone - it's not real touristy and there isn't a lot to do in the area, so a couple of days would suffice. But it's worth it for a chance to see these beautiful rock formations!


WhisperingWriter said...

That looks like an awesome place to visit! Love the photos.

Brian Miller said...

realy took me a minute to see the light and the heiroglyphs as all the rock formations...

A New England Life said...

It's been so many years since I was out West. How I'd love to take my girls so they could see what beauty there is in this country beyond New England.

Wonderful photos, Pat.

Gail said...

Thanks for the look see. I am not even sweating!

You are very luck to be able to travel and see this beauty. Thanks for sharing. Loved it.

BigSis said...

Wow. These are like brochure photos. I love the view and am impressed with the photographer!

misslynda said...

Amazing photos. When you look at them, I am sure it transports your memories back to the entire picture, emotions, tastes and smells of those days you spent there together. I cannot imagine living in a place like that.

becky said...

This place looks absolutely amazing! I've driven by there & stopped at 4 corners (to put a limb in each of 4 states!) but I was traveling solo & Monument Valley was a bit out of the way on my long drive... It is definitely on my list. Thanks for including the pic that shows the scale of the hole in the rock- that is so cool. Loving your "flashbacks!"

Eva Gallant said...

Such beautiful country. The thing about Arizona is that it is so totally different from most parts of this country!

Valerie said...

Wow, it's a beautiful part of the world and one I'd love to visit in person. Hmmm Pat, could you do a post on positioning the legs so I can sit for hours! Thank you...

Anonymous said...


Mama Zen said...

What a gorgeous place!

wenn said...

i hv seen the three sisters at blue mountains.

Missy said...

Beautiful photos! I really need to get out more!

Lindy MacDuff said...

You did a great job with all these photos, Pat. We visited there once while we lived in AZ, then Mike has been there a couple of times without me. =( Ironically, he was there on 9/11/01, camping in a remote area with a private outfitter group. No one in the camp had any idea what had taken place that day because, as you say, there is no cell phone service. It was two or three days after the fact that they finally heard, as someone had come in from Kayenta.