Straddling the border between Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley is a mythic landscape deep in the heart of the Navajo Nation. Its sandstone buttes have become part of American western iconography through the camera lenses of John Ford and many lesser filmmakers, including those selling cars and other merchandise.
We encountered the Valley close-up and personal on our Arizona trip in 2007. We arrived at Goulding’s Lodge in the late afternoon and drove over to the park, where a dozen or so photographers had set up to catch the Mitten Buttes in the magic light just before sunset.
We stopped and played with some dogs and horses, with no one else around.
The next morning we watched the sun rise over the buttes from our balcony.
Then we returned to the park for a horseback tour with Jasper, our Navajo guide to the off-road areas of the Valley.
He told us about life in the Navajo Nation, and sang a bit of a tribal chant, which echoed off the bizarre rock formations. We will never forget that mystical place.