Monument Valley

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MONUMENT VALLEY: Navajo Nation Tribal Land (246 pates) is a literary portrayal of one of my favorite Southwest scenic icons. If the name doesn’t convey an image of this setting’s awesome landscape, then perhaps seeing any number of John Wayne’s Western classics might provide a mental view and reminder. Located 22 miles north of Kayenta, Arizona, Monument Valley spreads out and shares its boundary with Utah. Perhaps next to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley’s mesmerizing backdrop may be the most famous locale of eroded remnants throughout the Southwest.

This is Navajo country, and they are proud to share their homeland with hoards of tourists pouring in from all over the world. Seeing the dished valley from the veranda is the first close view of the valley’s assorted monuments. But driving the loop road into the interior is arguably the best way to experience what the valley has to offer.

The twelve so-named sandstone sketches in this treatise explore various facets of what Monument Valley has to offer: geology, the native people who live here and call the setting their homeland, the vastness of the Colorado Plateau Province, which includes Monument Valley, and a scenic drive across the spacious desert that encompasses this sector of the Southwest. These aptly named sketches vividly describe to the reader the lay and feel of the rugged and beautiful landscape. After the overture, which introduces the reader to key aspects of the overall narrative, the literary tour begins.

All the sandstone sketches chapter material reveal my passion for the desert Southwest and the Four Corners region, as well as my transpersonal nature and how I relate to this awesome erosional icon. Monument Valley’s arresting remains of its primal geologic history is truly a place like no other. This dedication to this book of sandstone sketches says as much. . .

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Monument Valley presents a vision of near eternity etched in sunburnt sandstone with the caveat nothing lasts forever...not even the rocks! Here in these coagulated sands of time, the spent residue of sandstone landmarks creates an imposing facade of articulated architecture like no other place in the world. Here the changing light changes the view almost at every hour and shadows move as though mystifying veils darkening the iconic monuments.

Besides the abrupt-standing East and West Mittens, from the periphery of the road you see a dragon’s spiny backbone; catch a glimpse of the Yebechei Rocks––weird, as they are wondrous to behold; discover a colossal rock totem pole; altars and temples of monster-sized rocks; or the world's largest chair with plenty of room to seat hundreds of people (if they could even climb such slick rock). Then you search for the outline of a stagecoach, sans driver.

And the animals — they’re out here, too: an elephant; a rabbit; a bird; a turtle; but sorry...there are no running ponies. Not yet! There is a great big thumb, however, sticking straight out of the cochineal-stained desert pavement as big as it pleases. Perhaps it's an iconic rock replica for hitching a ride through this bewildering and bewitching estate, where other monster rocks jutting out of the valley floor and shadows immortal wizards.

But I also like the Thumb’s other import: “THIS IS THE PLACE, FOLKS...THUMB’S UP!”