the wandering chick
...Monument Valley

Movies have been made here. People from all the world have visited. Nowhere in America symbolizes the southwest U.S. more than this piece of land owned by the Navajo Indian Tribe. Ironicallly, it's not a U.S. national park, but is as equally recognizeable as any in the country.

Numerous John Wayne movies were filmed here, as well as such favoites as "Back to the Future," "Forrest Gump" and "The Eiger Sanction." For several years it was movie director John Ford's playground, making such movies as "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon," and "Stagecoach, "The Wild, Wild West" and "How the West Was Won." Even the Marlboro Man made it to Monument Valley.

But aside from the movies and the TV commercials, it's a land of breath-taking landscape, absolutely deserving of the attention it gets.

Highway 163 entering from Utah
the epitome of the American southwest
Entering Monument Valley from Utah on Highway 163. It's the well-recognized view of the park. This road is called "The Forrest Gump" road by the locals, as in the movie, it's the one Forrest was walking on when he decided to turn around and go home.
close up of Monument Valley symbol
Goulding's Memorial
Goulding's Museum

It was Harry Goulding who instigated the making of movies in Monument Valley. He and his wife Leona, known as 'Mike," opened a trading post as a way of helping the Navajo people. He succeeded in bringing revenue and attention to the park and helping the Navajo adjust to the 20th century.

Today there stands a lodge, a campground, restaurant and their home, which has been made into a museum (left and below). Their memorial (above) sits in an appropriate spot, overlooking the more familiar monuments that make up the park.

Goulding home and museum
goulding's sign
a whiptail
A "whiptail" lizard, so named for its extra-long tail
the Mittens
The Left Mitten and the Right Mitten
The Mittens and Merrick Butte
The Hub

Above: The monument known as "The Hub," named for its likeness to a stagecoach wheel.

Left, above: The Mittens and Merrick Butte

Left, below: Rain God Mesa

Below: a closeup of Rain God Mesa

Rain God Mesa
Rain God Mesa
Monument Valley monuments group
monuments group
The Sun's Eye
Above and to the right are pictures of what the Navajo have named "The Sun's Eye." Below are petroglyphs that were found along the lower portion of the left flank of the rock.
The Sun's Eye
petroglyphs at Sun's Eye
landscape of unnamed rocks
Ear of the Wind
The name for this rock is "Ear of the Wind."
The Big Hogan
The Navajo have named this rock formation The Big Hogan. A hogan is a traditional type of dwelling and is considered sacred to the Dine (Navajo) people. Today, even though they may live in a more modern-styled home, many still include a hogan for religious ceremonies and events.
The Totem Pole
Called The Totem Pole, or fondly by the Navajo "ET's finger." This rock formation was used by Clint Eastwood, who stood atop it along with others, during the making of "The Eiger Sanction." It's also been featured in various TV ads and commercials.
The Navajo Fire Dancers and the Totem Pole
unnamed rock formation
South of the Totem Pole is a formation translated meaning "the Navajo Fire Dancers." One of the various spellings is "Yei Bi Chei."
As far as I know, this rock formation is unnamed, but my travel pal saw in it a group of tall water vessels. So, we just gave it our own name.
sand dunes
untouched sand ripples
Sand dunes are constantly being formed and reshaped on this desert floor.
closeup of sand dune
our tour guide Larry and the truck
unnamed rock formation
Tours around the 17-mile loop on the valley floor can be had for a reasonable price. It offers you views of the monuments that cannot be seen otherwise. It's also possible to drive your own car along the same route, but a high-clearance vehicle is recommended for the unpaved road.
familiar shot of group of monuments
The Thumb in silhouette
An interesting tree trunk stands in front of the rock formation called The Thumb.
The Left Mitten
The Thumb and tree
rocks at sunset
The sun begins to cast its last light of the day on the Navajo's valley of monuments.
formations at sunset

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