Summer 2013 - Southwest
Take Two

Monticello, UT

August 12, 2013

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Photographs and Commentary
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Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is a place I wanted to visit for some time. The first time I saw the valley was in a western movie. However, I had no idea where it was. Monument Valley was the location of several movies. John Ford directed several movies here starring John Wayne and others. It made an impact... the menu in the Visitor Center restaurant features food named after John Ford, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Shirley Temple and others.

As you can tell from the name of the park, Monument Valley is on Navajo Nation lands and straddles the Arizona- Utah border. We traveled on the Valley Road without a guide and took about two hours to complete the 17 mile trip. Unguided visitors are limited to the Valley Road. If you want to explore the area in greater detail and go to some of the restricted areas, then you need to have a Navajo guide take you. We looked at a few of the organized tours and opted to do it ourselves. We understand that most visitors choose to drive the road themselves. The Tribal Park authorities suggest that you do it in a rugged, high road clearance vehicle because the road is not well maintained. We had our truck and I used four-wheel drive to ensure that I had good traction. Of course, a lot of people don't pay attention to the park authority recommendations and drive in vehicles that are not really suited for off-road driving. We kept wondering why they would risk damaging their cars and came to the conclusion (right or wrong) that they are using rental vehicles and not their own.

The pictures below don't do justice to this place. We got there in the morning and stayed into the afternoon. Lighting conditions were not always the best for the shot you want. You can't move the formations or the sun to get the ideal lighting. However, if you wait long enough, the light changes and you can get a better shot. If you wait even longer, the light changes and so does the scene and you might find a much better shot. Unfortunately, we could not wait for the ideal conditions.

THIS PLACE IS AWESOME!! (added by Susie)

On the way to Monument Valley we passed this formation named Mexican Hat. The formation provided a name for the nearby town

Monument Valley

Picture by Susie

Picture by Susie

Picture by Susie

Monument Valley is not just a tourist attraction, it is also home to some Navajos

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