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USA: Utah: Arches National Park, Brian Head, Bryce Canyon City, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Moab, Monument Valley, Park City, Salt Lake City, Snow Canyon, St. George, Sundance, Zion National Park
Monument Valley, Utah, USA: Wild West favourite
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Monument Valley was created as material eroded from the ancestral Rocky Mountains, and was deposited and cemented into sandstone. The dramatic formations were left over after the forces of erosion worked their magic on the sandstone. A geologic uplift caused the surface to bulge and crack. Wind and water then eroded the land, and the cracks deepened and widened into gullies and canyons. Natural forces continue to slowly shape the land even today.
Monument Valley has been featured in many films since the 1930s. Appearances include films, such as Forrest Gump, Clint Eastwood's movie The Eiger Sanction, westerns by director John Ford such as Stagecoach and The Searchers, cartoons such as Chip n' Dale's Rescue Rangers and many more. In fact, there’s a point that’s called John Ford View Point… where the famed Director sat for hours probably plotting the next shot!
We drove into Monument Valley from Moab. It’s a 5-hour picturesque drive. When we were about 10 miles from Monument Valley, the road leading into the valley made for a great picture stop. From there it was easy to imagine the unique sandstone formations, the Navajo Indian nation that defines the vast, open desert region… the old West Country once known only to outlaws, struggling pioneers and Native American people.
By 4PM we were at the gates of Goulding’s Lodge – our hotel for the night. This is one of the two hotels in Monument Valley – the other being The View Hotel. Both hotels offer great view of the valley. Between the two The View Hotel has a slight advantage as the property is situated right on the edge offering staggering views of The Mittens and the valley. In summer time do plan your trip in advance else you won’t get rooms. Of course, you can always stay in areas around and then drive to Monument Valley… will surely work out cheaper.
There are many Native Anmericans who run valley tours. It’s a good idea to be a part of organized tours. We were in good hands of Goulding’s Jeep Tour. Our driver was Jones, a Native American who has been living in the area for over 30 years. Jones was a good story teller. For the next 2 hours we drove through the valley making frequent picture stops. While there are many tours, ours was the basic one. We went up to Three Sisters and turned back. We got some excellent views of The Mittens, Elephant Butte and the vast expanse of the valley.
Dinner that night was at Goulding’s Stagecoach Restaurant. We tried the typical Navaho Fried Bread – a staple that goes well with almost all kinds of food. The bread reminded me of the Indian Bhatura.
Very clear skies the next morning motivated me to wake up at 5AM to try my hands at shooting the rising sun. I think the early rise was well worth it. After breakfast, we took a tour of The View Hotel, spent some time observing The Mittens from a vantage location and then made our way towards Capitol Reef that was about 6 hours away. We had some sandwiches to see us through the day.
Monument Valley Image Gallery Photo viewer
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