These are photographs taken by Anne Mackie of Monument Valley, USA near
"four corners" where Utah, Arizona
Colorado and New Mexico state lines all meet. Monument Valley is
part of a Native American (Navajo) Reservation --
not a National Park. The Navajo name for the area is "Tse' Bii'
Dave and I drove west starting May 13, 2004 and arrived at Monument
Valley in late morning May 18th
found our Motel in the nearby town of Kayenta, Arizona, and after a
quick lunch we drove north 20 miles so we could
drive around the 11 miles tourist road at Monument Valley. Then I went
back in late afternoon and joined a private tour
with a Native American guide who was able to take a small group on back
roads beyond where tourists can drive
in his four wheel drive vehicle.
I recently saw an old John Wayne movie where set right in and among the
features in these photographs.
Most of these photos are to illustrate the wonderful features of this
amazing place and a few turned out to be photos
that may be included in a show sometime in the future. The first
image is a panarama created from three photos and
then merged in PhotoShop.
When you first arrive you have this view from the Visitor Center
Patio. The car coming along the road near the
bottom center of the picture might be difficult to see - it is the
little spot in the middle of the dusty road, but it gives
you an idea of scale. There is another car near the end of the
road on the far right which you cannot see unless the
picture is printed about 18 inches wide. These monuments are very
Of the three central features you see the West Mitten, East Mitten and
Merrick Butte. Protected by a hard rock top
layer, the bottoms are softer Shale which is crumbling. However,
the Navaho Guide, who lived in this area since
his birth 57 years ago, cannot remember seeing any major changes from
rocks falling in his lifetime, so this is a slow process.
This is the dirt road into the valley. The road is scattered with
large "monuments" of all descriptions along the entire 11 miles.
This is a closer view of the West Mitten from along the road.
Below it is another view with a log
in the foreground which I think shows how having something in the
forground can improve a picture.
Having some other features in the background helps too.
Here is another amazingly narrow slice of hard rock. It must have
been at least 70 feet tall.
One of the surprises to me in this desert setting was to find flowering
plants throughout the area.
Here is another tall tower - probably 60 ro 70 feet tall.
This is a view about halfway along the road. You can see one car
parked in a nearby parking area
with a person taking pictures.
Here is a shot of the far end of the park from another parking
area. I wonder who lifted those rocks
to make these benches? As you can see, part of the Valley is
really sandy desert, but much of it has
sage brush, grasses, yucca, and other plants.
There are some very old Juniper Trees scattered around the Valley too.
Here is a flower we found in profusion from New Mexico to far northern
Montana. I don't know the name of it
but when we were in the Grand Tetons, a rafting guide told us that when
these plants bloom, it is time
for the Elks to give birth, so Dave and I started calling them the Elk
The three monuments on the left in this photograph are known as The
Three Sisters. I don't know about the formations on the right.
Some monuments bear a striking resemblance to certain animals.
The highest reddish feature here
is called Elephant Rock. You can see the trunk and two eyes
(a little crooked) and the large ears.
Again notice the flowers blooming in this rocky desert place.
If you use you imagination, you can see Puff the Magic Dragon lying
across the plain facing the left lower cliff
with his chin on the ground - including his mouth, nostril and eye.
To give you some idea of the size of many of these cliffs, I included
two people standing at the base of the right hand rock.
As we were taken further into the back roads of Monument Valley, the
late afternoon light began to
have a more pronounced slant, our Navajo Guide took us to see this
feature known as God's Eye.
Our Guide said experts think these Pictographs may be 10,000 years
old. The larger features were probably
7 to 8 feet across. They were in a shallow open cave close
to the ground.
This is a hillside that is probably over 150 feet high which was full
of large and small caves and various swirls and holes
the water has created over the ages. While it looks almost like
sand, it is hard rock.
The strange formation below made an interesting backdrop to the yellow
and blue flowering plants.
How do these plants get ahold and grow?
As the sun began to set, we arrived near what are known as The Needles
at the far end of the Valley. The afternoon light was
Here is a telephoto view of the left side of this same feature.
As we headed back to the Visitor Center which is on the western side of
the Valley, the Southeast edge of the Valley was illuminated by the sun.
Here is another panarama from the road heading back west. The
streak of light across the right lower side is sunlight
steaming from between two rock formations to the west.
With about two minutes of sunlight left, our guide stopped suddenly and
urged us to get out quickly, climb a small rise so we could take
this classic picture with the old Juniper Tree, West and East Mittens
and Merrick Butte. Four of us quickly snapped
pictures and the light was gone. I thought he timed it kind of
close, but he did his job.
That's it for Monument Valley. The next set of photos will be
from the Grand Canyon.
Next: Grand Canyon