Saturday, May 2, 2009

Monument Valley Land of Endless Sky

Monument Valley

Land of Endless Sky

Visiting the Monument Valley in Arizona is a great experience for there is so much to be seen. I especially wanted to locate the “Forrest Gump Road,” the place they filmed the scene where Forrest Gump chose to end his run across the country.

We headed north on US 163 into Utah to find the Forrest Gump spot. And here it is - this specific location is on US 163, between the Utah/Arizona border and Mexican Hat, Utah. The view faces south on 163 toward Kayenta, Arizona. Does it look familiar to you?

This is where Forrest Gump stopped running and returned home.
It was just awesome for me to actually be there!!!

The Valley first became famous in the 1930s, when traders Harry and “Mike” Goulding revealed its uniqueness to Hollywood director John Ford. Ford used the location as a film set for the movie Stagecoach starring John Wayne. Since then, many other films have been shot here, including Billy the Kid, Forrest Gump, Back to the Future III and Thelma and Louise... not to mention some memorable automobile commercials.

Monument Valley, that famous site of Western movies, is actually a Navajo Tribal Park within the 16 million-acre Navajo Reservation. Established in 1958 on the border of Arizona and Utah and just west of the Colorado-New Mexico state line, its 30,000 acres contain some of the most famous scenic landmarks in the southwest fanciful rock formations.

At the John Ford's Point

Below are some of my photoshoot of Nok - Chalida Thaochalee Tantipipop, Miss Thailand 1998. Nok was born, raised and graduated college in Chicago. She currently lives in Thailand and has her own TV show "Living in Shape" on Thai TV Channel 3. She recently was in the top hit Thai TV drama "Dong Phu Dee", took a role as Khun Pairin.

Visit her TV show online at

Three Sisters monument (in picture below) refer to three nuns, not three siblings. Here it's easy to see the two mature nuns leading the thin young initiate between them. Isn't creative imagination wonderful!

The Navajo is one of the most interesting tribes to observe and learn about. They are by far the largest Indian tribe in North America.

Monument Valley is not really a valley, but an upwarp of sedimentary rock that is at least 260 million years old, surrounded by sentinels that have yet to fully erode. The floor itself is more than a mile high, part of the 130,000-square-mile Colorado Plateau. Sandstone is easily eroded, and the wind, rain, cycles of frost and heat have been at work, cracking and chiseling the valley to its present form.

I tried different color balance in this picture.
It turned out interesting and we liked it.

Nok and Frank Jackson

Frank Jackson is know worldwide as the "Navajo John Wayne". He is the man in the red shirt on horseback, and he can be found almost everyday at his family's business at John Ford Point posing for photographs. "I love the valley and the tourists who come here", he says humbly.

Look for Frank on his horse in red shirt below. He is a true Navajo hero.

The historic Trading Post is now a museum.

Harry, the original home owner, back in the 40's managing the Trading Post. Sometimes things were bought with actual cash money, but more often barter or credit was the form of transfer. Turquoise and silver jewelry could be pawned, to be paid off when the sheared wool was brought in or Navajo rugs were delivered to the trading post. Harry virtually never sold a pawned item. The trading post was far more than just a country sore. It was where people met, exchanged local news, learned what else was happening in the world.

Nok and a Navajo woman at the museum

Display of Hollywood history at the monument museum

Nok and John Wayne

All the movie filmed here at the Monument Valley.

My favorite movie "Back to the Future" was also filmed here!!!

It definitely feels like Hollywood here!!!

"Vacation" by Chevy Chase was filmed here too!!!

Plus many more movies

Inside the house of Harry and his wife at the Trading Post

Their kitchen

Dining table

And their bedroom

Another monument we visited on the following day.
Check out the gigantic scale of the rock.

We were so lucky to see wild horses.

...and sheep

Nok as cowgirl here at a horse ranch

Navajo's traditional house is called "hogan". It has six or eight sides and made of logs, brush and mud. The door faces east towards the rising sun.

I was so glad the home owner personally showed us the inside. At first, I thought it was a storage area, but apparently, there were 3 people still living here.

This is a small scale housing to the hogan, called "Sweathouse", which is simply a sauna house.

The general idea is to build a fire outside and heat rocks. Take the heated rocks to the center of the Sweathouse in a heap and close the air vents (normally with layers of blackets). Pour a cup of water over the heated rocks which create steam. The condensation of water on the skin feels like sweat, hence the name - Sweathouse.

The cooking area

Introducing "The View", the only hotel located inside the Monument Valley.
It was just opened last year. I highly recommend all visitors should stay there.

We got the best room in the hotel, located in the corner with extra long balcony.
Check out the breathtaking view of the monument right from our room. Unbelievable!!!

Sipping coffee while looking at the view!!!

It could not get better than that!!!

The making of The View

Beauty is in the *EYE* of the Beholder


Tuk said...

Hi Amie,


We went to Sedona in April. We stayed there for 7 days. We did not finish our tour list either. There are so many spectacular side seeing to see. I love Sedona. We will visit the Monument Valley for sure next time. You are sharing such a informative website. Great pictures! always. Love to see your works all the time. Thank you so much. Tuk Chamberlin

chananat said...

Great Pictures!!
Job well done.
Living is shape is a good show, please tell her that. Continue do it.

Orn said...

Khun Amie,

I do love your photos. It's did very very good job.
I have to make my dream come true to go there soon.


Orn Verginia said...

Khun Amie,

I do love your photos. It's did very very good job.
I have to make my dream come true to go there soon.