Day 21-22 Monument Valley, Utah   Leave a comment

From Colorado back into Utah, back to the beautiful red rock. We of course visited Four Corners, where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. It was a little disenchanting to find that the original surveyors of the area made a mistake and the monument for the four corners is off about 7 miles….

I’m still amazed at how the land can be so flat and then all of a sudden there is a huge strangely shaped rock that seems to come from nowhere.

Just before the city of Mexican Hat, there is a rock that looks just like that, a Mexican hat.

We arrived in the area of our campground to find EVERYTHING named Goulding. Goulding grocery, Goulding Lodge, Goulding Museum, Goulding Gas, Goulding Tours, Goulding Campground. Come to find out Harry Goulding and his wife, Leone, first came to Monument Valley in the early 1920s. They settled on a hilltop at the foot of a towering mesa, in a tent. They eventually built themselves a house. By 1928, they had constructed a trading post where they conducted business with local Navajo Indians. The Navajos would bring the Gouldings silver jewelry and hand-woven rugs in trade for food and supplies.

Monument Valley suffered greatly during the Depression, so in 1938, a desperate attempt to bring financial relief, Harry and his wife went to Hollywood, California, in search of a solution. They managed to convince Director John Ford that Monument Valley would be the perfect location for his next film, Stagecoach. Today, Monument Valley is still used as a location for movies, commercials, TV shows and magazine shoots. Eventually they built a small hotel which was named the 8th prettiest hotel, not because the rooms, but because of the beautiful scenery around.

We had a great “truck tour” led by a Navajo, who was born in the local hospital here in Monument Valley.

We stopped to see a “hogan” (mud hut). Outside a young Navajo woman was spinning wood into yard.

Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park comprised of 30,000 acres, established in 1958. It is located on the Utah/Arizona border within the 16 million acre Navajo Reservation. They average 8 inches of rain per year and wouldn’t you know it, while we were there, it rained a few times. It apparently doesn’t rain as much as it used to because the Juniper trees that are very, very old no longer produce the berries that they once did.

Before human existence, Monument Valley was a vast lowland basin. For hundreds of millions of years layer upon layer of eroded sediment from the early Rocky Mountains was deposited in the basin and cemented into rock-mainly sandstone and limestone. Then a slow, gentle uplift created by constant pressure from below the surface elevated the horizontal strata, which now turned it into a plateau of solid rock 1000 feet high. The natural forces of wind and rain and temperature have spent the last 50 million years cutting and peeling away the surface of this plateau, creating these natural wonders that today stand between 400 and 1200 feet tall.

Among the monuments, we saw the mittens

The infamous cowboy on horseback

The W

and a great group shot

This was the view from our campground.

We ended our day with a steak/pork dinner on the grill. Everyone cooked their own. The “chef” was amazing!

After dinner several of us took a hike up the rocks behind the rv park to view the Arch.

WOW! What a view!

Thank you Gail and Jack for showing us the way

and thank you Dave and Evie for leading us to the top!

Here we all are at the top!

What fun!

Now to figure out how to get down….


Posted September 18, 2013 by carolnbill in Travel

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