During the spring and fall equinox, the shadow of one Mitten forms atop the second Mitten. It's a big deal and hundreds flock to the Valley to witness the event. Yes, even Roy and I have done it; along with a couple of friends, and it's really like a party atmosphere. Then we ride over to Goulding's Lodge, and the Stagecoach Dining Room, for a great meal.
The photos I'll be sharing were taken during the day and at sunset; sunny sky to cloudy. One photo of Eagle Rock-Eagle Mesa even has the hint of a rainbow after a short rain storm. While many of the monuments can be seen from Hwy. 163, I do advise to not be cheap. Either go into the Tribal Park itself and find a tour guide; or go to Goulding's Lodge and sign up for one of their 3 hour, or all day, tours. This way you will see monuments up close and personal that are not seen from the highway, ruins, rock art, and the way the Navajo people live in this area.
Sort of funny story time: I was working at the local visitor center and a woman from Belgium came in. She had visited Monument Valley and was quite disappointed. Why, you wonder? She had seen the Johnny Depp movie, The Lone Ranger, which had much of it filmed within Monument Valley. Here she was, on vacation, and nowhere could she see, "Where the Indians really lived". She complained that there were "real houses" down in the Valley, "Where were the teepees!?!" The people wore clothing like any other person, "Why weren't they in real Indian clothes; the men wearing loin cloths!?!"
I explained that the film was geared towards the late 19th century (1880s) to early 20th century. The Native Americans were just like anyone else...people. They lived in houses like anyone else; wore clothing like anyone else; they were like...anyone else. Unfortunately this didn't make her any happier as now she felt that she had watched a movie that, sort of, lied to her about the southwest. So there you have it folks, the USA, or parts of it, is perceived dependent on the film created by Hollywood.
When you go to Monument Valley, visit the museum at the Tribal Park's visitor center to get a true history lesson. Better yet, go on one of the tours led by residents of Monument Valley; get an up close and personal history lesson about the Navajo culture.
Oh, speaking of films, I am including a film that I took as we traveled to and through the Valley. Originally it was 13 minutes long, but hubby, who owns Desert Stone Studio , was able to cut it down to a more manageable length of time for viewing pleasure. Basically you'll get a gist of what you'll be seeing as you make the drive along Highway 163.
Enjoy the journey!
Monument Valley Photographs
|Eagle Rock - Eagle Mesa, rainbow after rain storm|
|Eagle Rock - Eagle Mesa|
The Mittens and Merrick Butte - As Sunset Progresses Over a 10 Minute Span
|Sentinel Mesa and Big Indian Butte|
|Agathla Peak - Arizona side of Monument Valley, along Hwy. 163|
Video - Monument Valley Via Hwy. 163