Monument Valley

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There is no more iconic scenery in the Western United States than the buttes and mesas of Monument Valley. Serving as the backdrop in countless movies and television shows, the views evoke an intimate connection to the past.

The Three Sisters West Mitten Butte

DLG_0511-cartoonIf the landscape does that for us today, can you imagine what the landscape does for the Navajo and other First Nation tribes that roamed this land long ago? Probably not.

So if you do decide to skip the self-drive tour through Monument Valley–if only just to save your car from bottoming out in the massive potholes and ruts in the “road”–go on a guided tour offered by Navajo Spirit Tours, which offers a variety of tours to choose from including half day tours, sunrise/sunset photography tours as well as full day tours.

We opted for the standard tour, which over two and a half hours hit all the viewpoints on the self-drive tour plus gave us access to back country areas to see a side of Monument Valley that you cannot see on the self-drive tour.

DLG_0591 Monument Valley
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Ear of the Wind

So off we went, bounding up, down, and all around, in the converted back of a flat bed truck; our bandannas tied over our nose and mouths bringing out our inner bandido.

Along the way, we stopped off to admire West Mitten and Merrick Buttes, Elephant Butte, the Three Sisters and John Ford’s Point. And then we went off the map to visit a Navajo rug weaver at work in her hogan, Anazasi petroglyphs, and various arch formations and natural amphitheaters deeper in the valley like the Ear of the Wind, all while being regaled by stories told by our guide–Don Mose–of what life was like growing up Navajo.

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And so even though the skies were overcast and the lighting not great, the tour was nonetheless priceless.

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