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' Ndzisgaii." 

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 large!

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.

Panarama from Visitor Center

This is the dirt road into the valley.  The road is scattered with large "monuments" of all descriptions along the entire 11 miles.
Road Into Valley

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. 
West Mitten

West Mitten with Log

Here is another amazingly narrow slice of hard rock.  It must have been at least 70 feet tall.
Tall Narrow formation

One of the surprises to me in this desert setting was to find flowering plants throughout the area.
Blue Flowering Plant

Here is another tall tower - probably 60 ro 70 feet tall.
Tall Tower Tumbled Rocks

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.
Far Feature One Person and Car

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.
Needles With Rock Benches

There are some very old Juniper Trees scattered around the Valley too.

Juniper grass details

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 Birthing flowers.

Elk Birthing Flowers and Rocks

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.
Three Sisters

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.
Elephant Rock

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.
Two People, Two Cliffs

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.
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.
Caves and Swirls in RockHillside

The strange formation below made an interesting backdrop to the yellow and blue flowering plants. 
How do these plants get ahold and grow?
Flowers and Rock Formation

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
Needles and Cliff

Here is a telephoto view of the left side of this same feature.
One Needle

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.
Sunset Southern Edge

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.
Panarama Late Day

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.
Three features with Old Juniper

That's it for Monument Valley.  The next set of photos will be from the Grand Canyon.


Next: Grand Canyon