Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park 4x4 Tour
July 14, 2013

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Lower Antelope Canyon       Dinosaur Tracks       Grand Canyon National Park
Historic Route 66        Boulder Dam Hotel        Hoover Dam

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Merrick Butte on Monument Valley from John Ford's Point/
John Wayne's Cabin at Goulding's Lodge
John Wayne's Cabin

Sunday - day 4

This was the first morning where breakfast was not included with the room and we had picked up things to eat at a nearby supermarket the night before. After packing the car, we drove back to the main lodge to check in for a 3 and a half hour tour 4x4 tour.

We had to check in a half hour early, so there was time to check out the gift shop, museum and "John Wayne's Cabin," which turned out to be not a place where he stayed, but a root cellar which was used for exterior shots of the cabin where Wayne's character was supposed to live, in the movie, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon." The interior shots in the movie were filmed in Hollywood and the interior of the root cellar is a mockup of that interior.

Our guide was a very nice Navaho man named Sammy, who has been leading tours of Monument Valley for many years and teaches preschool as his full time job. 12 of us were loaded in the open air back of a truck where there was seating for up to 20. We started out in the front row, where there was a clear wind shield, but moved to the back row where we could wedge our knees into the back of the seats in front of us to hold ourselves in place. We rode back to The View for photographs, before taking the very rough, steep road down into the valley. 

West Mitten, East Mitten & Merrick Butte from near The View

Sammy was narrating the tour by PA and Linda was impressed to see that he was driving with one hand and holding the microphone in the other. Portions of the route that we took were open to private vehicles, but it was quickly obvious that problems could arise. Returning up this same slope, we saw several vehicles failing to climb back up this two rut road.

The tour stopped every 5 or 10 minutes to allow us to take photos. Several of the stops were at locations where native crafts people were selling jewelry and Linda bought a lovely necklace at John Ford's Point. This was one of the longest stops. There was a man with a horse named "Pistol" and he would allow people to pose for photos on top of Pistol for $2. His father was Frank Jackson, who posed on horseback at this location for over 40 years.

I took advantage of the times when no one was around Mr. Jackson, to use the horse and rider as a prop in the foreground of my photos.

Just four days earlier, the movie, "A Million Ways To Die In The West," was filming at this same spot. Movies and TV shows have been filmed everywhere in the Valley. I think the trick might be to find a place where TV or a movie hasn't been filmed:-) 

The View Hotel - Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
I appreciate the effort that was made to blend The View into the scenery

Keith Stokes, Linda Stokes, Mary Lipp, Nancy Lipp, the west mitten
Keith, Linda, Mary & Nancy with the West Mitten

West Mitten Monument Valley
The West Mitten and other formations

Elephant Butte - Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Elephant Butte was the first of many natural arches on the tour

The Three isters rock formation in Monument Valley
The Three Sisters is a formation of a Catholic nun )at the left) facing her two pupils. 

Black-collared Lizard in Monument Valley
Black-collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores)

John Ford's Point in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Mr. Jackson and Pistol are on John Ford's Point in the foreground. (Prints of this photograph for sale)

Navajo Hogans
These traditional Navajo dwellings are called Hogans. The rock formation behind them is called "The Hub," which
symbolizes the hub of a wagon wheel. Navajos also see it as a fire place in the center of a gigantic Hogan.

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copyright 2013 by Keith Stokes.