It was a special day traveling through Monument Valley with our Navajo guide, Emilio. In many places, the energy from the magnificent mesas was palpable. I don’t remember ever being in a place that spoke to my heart like this one.
About 300 Navajo live in Monument Valley, most living in remote areas without electricity or running water. We saw many traditional hogans, round dwellings made from juniper or cedar logs & plastered with mud on the outside. Emilio drove us over the roughest roads imaginable through the back country of Monument Valley. The rock formations are noteworthy mainly because they resemble animals or other familiar images. The sandstone arches were small & spectacular, holding great spiritual significance for the Navajo. The horses running free were a treat; it was easy to imagine them as wild west ponies.
Goulding’s Lodge was filming a promotional shoot so we got to see the cowboy action as well as the camera drone! Just wish we could see the footage! Although Monument Valley has always held deep spiritual meaning for its people, its uniqueness was not revealed to the world until the late 1930s. Harry Goulding & his wife came to Monument Valley to live among the natives & create a new life for themselves after the end of the First World War. To help the struggling Navajo during the depression, Harry went to Hollywood after learning of their need for wild west locations. John Ford was convinced after seeing Harry’s pictures & began filming “Stagecoach” with John Wayne immediately. The rest is history. Clint Eastwood’s “Eiger Sanction”, Back to the Future III, & my favorite, Thelma & Louise were filmed here. Thanks to Harry & his wife’s pioneering spirit, Monument Valley has become an icon of the American West. People from all over the world come to appreciate its amazing beauty.