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How about let'€™s take a break from canyonology as I call it (but there is really no such word) and continue with the nature slash environmental theme of these diary-missives? What I also garner from most of the previous commentaries (relating to the Glen Canyon-Lake Powell series) is many of you in the Daily Kos audience have a craving for the outdoors, and maybe even desirous of taking a break from the usual diary traffic depicting unrelenting Congressional and Presidential bickering (a polite word for pissing contests), gun show advocates (as if one or two assault rifles is not quite enough armament for gun owners and advocates), and the continuing intrigue of climatic change on a global scale (read What plan of action?). And have I left something out given the typical agenda of interesting DK subject matter appearing every day?

That being said I would like to share some more of the Colorado Plateau's exquisite landscape features with the community, this time headed to another sector of the Navajo Reservation'€™s stunning desert terrain just north of Kayenta, Arizona. Can you guess from the title where this diary will be taking you by way of a literary description in the guise of a tour? Here'€™s a hint: the immensity of this picturesque setting is an approximate scenic 2.5-hour drive from the eastern shores of the Grand Canyon, then headed across a sector of the famed Painted Desert to what is arguably the most stupendous environs of downsized landmarks (by erosion) throughout the Southwest––Monument Valley.

Although mere words fail to describe this boundless territory to someone who has never physically seen and experienced its splendor, I still feel I must try. And for those who have previously stopped by for a visit, you already have an idea just as visceral this landscape is––and by some accounts it's the kind of backdrop that pulls you in, like a visual snare.

I think most of you already know the valley's winsome backdrop with its excessively large monuments where one of Hollywood'€™s most celebrated directors, John Ford, filmed a lot of his flicks. Of course, his favored movie star (and I bet you know who I'€™m talking about) loved being in those movies. . .pilgrim. . .either chasing the seeming recalcitrant native people across a wide and muddy river or else being chased by same. . .Yo-oooo! (Actually, there really isn'€™t a river anywhere in the valley. The only water here is what falls from the sky or people bring with them into this typically dry, dished valley.) Of course, let'€™s not forget the most pivotal aspect of Monument Valley's mesmerizing scenery is home to the Navajo People, that is, this setting represents just one large facet of the largest Native American reservation in North America. (continues after the fancy fold)

Please also note that this diary'€™s offering comes from a much larger tome I my one day submit for publication, along with a hoard of others, entitled MONUMENT VALLEY: A Landscape Of Scenic Sandstone Sculpture

Incidentally, this posting is written with no intended diatribes (such as was necessary for the Glen Canyon-Lake Powell diaries). Instead, what follows is an educational tour, beginning with the following preface (in the admtted guise of an enticement that sets the tone of the running narrative):

                                        PAEAN TO A PEERLESS PLACE

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 leftover sands of time, the residue of sandstone erosion creates an imposing facade of articulated architecture like no other place in the world. Here the changing light also transforms the view almost at every hour, where blue-black shadows move like mystifying wizards. Besides the abrupt-standing East and West Mittens (easily the valley's most iconic landmarks), from the periphery of the road winding its way into and through the valley you see a dragon's spiny backbone; catch a glimpse of the Yebechei Rocks that are weird as they are wondrous to behold; discover a colossal rock totem pole; alters 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 critter likenesses are 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 live and shadows dance...like immortal wizards. But I also like the Thumb's other import: "THIS IS THE PLACE, FOLKS...THUMB'€™S UP!"

Next, I would like to mention part of the reason for sharing this Sandstone Sketch (chapter) of the larger story is because the Navajo have a thriving tourism market and want to keep it that way. Ergo, I gladly volunteer this unsolicited promotion. I have lived and worked among them for nearly forty years and I can tell you there are few others like them. Just remember when you' are visiting the reservation you are guests and kindly respect their traditions. So what follows is not only about the spectacular scenery, but also a conveyed and intentional perception of their tribal culture. And this is how the narrative begins. . .

Welcome:Yah-ta-hey) is a common and expressive utterance spoken by the Dine (with an accent placed over the "e") popularly known as the Navajo (but prefer the former designate). Usual translations include "Hello," "Okay," or "Farewell with luck always." (Dine should not be confused with Dinetah, which is a term used for their traditional homeland.) As an expression, Yah-ah-hey can also mean "Howdy," or "Welcome." So to the Daily Kos community I say Yah-ta-hey to one of the Southwest's most lionized geological settings, bar none!

Monument Valley is the Big Valley. Its metamorphosis through time by way of articulate honing of foundational materials is what this geologic panorama is all about erosion on a preeminent and aesthetically pleasing scale! I suppose we all have our preferences for natural beauty and the desert-canyon country certainly is mine. I might even say the overall environs acts as a talisman of sorts, though I find explaining this more difficult than it is to admit.

The Ideal Time To Visit The Valley: In this diary we will, as mentioned be taking a tour. And no tipping the guide is even necessary! The season is around mid-spring, say the beginning of April. Already the rocks bake and beam in the intemperate sunlight. By the way, wear a hat and sunglasses on this virtual tour. It might make you think you'€™re really here. Oh, remember the sun block ritual too!

Considered the epitome of all similarly created sandstone iconography, Monument Valley'€™s grandeur boasts a large, long and wide perspective of finely fashioned obelisks standing erect on the blond or orange-tinctured desert floor. By some standards, the fetching backdrop is considered the undeclared Eighth Natural Wonder of the world. Perhaps sometime it will be.

Before going any further with the tour there is a famous prayer (whose authorship remains obscure) recited by the Dine is called The Navajo Prayer. One of the verses reads:

          May it be beautiful before me.
          May it be beautiful behind me.
          May it be beautiful above me.
          May it be beautiful below me.
               May I walk in beauty.

In this valley beauty is indeed encompassing. And here’s some background to help familiarize you with some of the human history and geology about this marvel of nature.

An Earned Entitlement To A Proud People: In 1884, President Chester Arthur bequeathed Monument Valley to the Dine. It isn'€™t known when these former nomadic warriors first settled here, but the historical record may be somewhere around the early part of the 16th Century, roughly 1510 to 1520. Some anthropologists even think fifty to seventy-five years earlier is more correct. Over the centuries these interloper-Athabaskan people from the far north country (present-day Canada) migrated to this sector of the much warmer and drier Southwest. Eventually ceasing their raids on the Mexicans, and later the new Americans who crossed the famed 100th Meridian and poured into the West. Eventually, the Dine settled down and turned pastoral, mainly by herding sheep and farming. Later, many families supplemented their livelihood in enterprising ways. For instance, by weaving embellished rugs and blankets, as well as designing elegant turquoise and silver jewelry. In time, Monument Valley was established as the first Tribal Park (July 11, 1958).

At 5,564 feet above sea level, Monument Valley'€™s ranging turf encompasses 91,696 acres and extends from Arizona into Utah. The park'€™s buttes, mesas and monoliths vary from 400 to 1,000-feet. (A mesa, which is a Spanish word for table, is an isolated flat-topped hill with steep sides, while the relatively smaller butte is narrower with steep sides and a flat top. Both are erosional remnants of the larger elongate plateaus.) This high desert landscape, where rainfall is a scant 8.5 inches on average, is deemed hallowed ground from the perspective of Native American human history. The prehistoric to historic and contemporary forms a continuum of human linage and adaptive changes recorded through the centuries. Over one hundred Late Archaic Period archeological sites dating well before 1300 CE (Common Era) have been located throughout the valley, including the sibling and adjacent Mystery Valley to the east. While Monument Valley is open to the public (for tourism), Mystery Valley requires special tribal permission to enter its sector and always an escorted tour.

An Overview: A former basin raised to a high plateau, much has changed here over some 50 million years. The result of what is seen today is an extraordinary weathered topography accented by an immense void here and there broken up by gargantuan landmark figures (so described in the preceding paean). The region'€™s biotic and taxa community forms an integral part of the Great Basin Desert, which is sometimes known as purple sage country. There are forty named monuments jutting from the valley floor, most of them given designates by the most famous white-eye who settled here in the early part of the century, Harry Goulding. He was also an exceptional outsider (belagana in Navajo lingo) in that he was well-liked and respected by the tribe. He was even given his own special appellation T'pay-en-nez meaning "Long Sheep" and was responsible for luring John Ford to this locale. Hollywood more or less came with him, starting with the most famous archetypal cowboy, John Wayne (sorry Clint, he made his day long before you came along). Wa-ha. . .

What'€™s In A Name? Some of the amazing features throughout Monument Valley are descriptive by way of their individual and singular designates. These are the most notable among the the inventory:

Elephant Butte, Totem Pole (400 feet high and claimed to be the thinnest, tallest poles known as a hoodoo (40 feet thick at its diameter and 14 feet across the top), the Yei Bi Chei Rocks (275 feet high, which are the fire dancers who appear on the ninth and last night of the tribal winter religious ceremony known as the Night Way); Cly Butte (named after a venerable Navajo chief); Wetherhill Mesa (named after John Wetherhill who set up the first trading post), Hoskinninni Mesa (the Navajo chief who led his people into Canyon de Chelly during the Long March episode); El Capitan (a/k/a Agathla Peak, a volcanic neck (a/k/a diatreme) 1,300 feet high and considered one of four sacred places where the Dine believe the sky is held up); Chaistla Butte (400-foot-high volcanic structure; the name means "€œBurt Foot"€), John Ford'€™s Point; Camel Butte; The Hub; Big Thumb; the Bear and Rabbit; Castle Rock; Big Indian; Sentinel Mesa (a/k/a Watchtower); Mitchell Butte (500 feet high and named after a silver prospector who was killed by Paiute Indians who dragged himself three miles and croaked at this point); Mitchell Mesa (700 feet high); The Mittens (according to legend, they are two dormant hands left behind by the gods as signs some day the holy beings will return and rule with power from Monument Valley); Merrick Butte (Mitchell'€™s partner, who was also killed); the Three Sisters (3 holy people turned to stone; south sister 600 feet high; middle sister 325 feet and northern sister 575 feet; also known as Faith, Hope and Charity); Artist'€™s Point; North Window; Spearhead, Thunderbird and Rain God Mesas; The Sun's Eye (an elliptical window, as opposed to a natural arch) and Ear of the Wind (both located in Mystery Valley).

These catchy monikers represent only a part of Monument Valley'€™s holdings (the monuments) that sometimes appears like a mirage in the desert sands when the sun cranks up its fusion thermostat. As previously intimated, the valley'€™s nearly 75 square kilometers is not government-owned land. Instead, and for many centuries, its tract of land is the sovereign homeland of the Dine who occupy this dry quadrant of the reservation. The name means the People and they have yet another name for this locale: Tse' Bii' Ndzisgaii (the €œValley of the Rocks€). And, yes, some Navajo families do live inside the valley, though there is no electricity, plumbing on phone (land line) service; not even water. Those amenities are taken care of by a variety of means, such as outhouses, portable generators, hauling water in tank-trucks (but forget about cellphone, Internet and cable TV coverage, dude). In some cases, more traditional Navajos shy away from modernity's comforts, preferring, instead, a more outback and traditional way of life and living. (Think early 19th Century and earlier and what human resources were vogue in those years. Now consider what some of the valley residents contend with on a daily basis.)

Long before other tribes of American Indians in the more recent past, other native people from various archaic periods have lived here and throughout the Four Corners region for thousands of years. However, it is thought only the Dine have held on to this particular sector for so long. Not bad, considering this terrain is akin to a place of dry water. (Thus qualifying the earlier remark about there being no mythical river coursing through the valley as depicted in equally mythical Western movies, not even so much as a stream or a deeply dug well.)

The Wonder, Awe, And All Of Erosion: If one were pressed to say what is the most conspicuous characteristic expressed by Monument Valley'€™s layout, it would likely be the perpetual honing of landmark features by erosion in tandem with the detritus of what once covered this entire region. In short, imagine an integrated, (solid) sandstone foundation similar to an extensive plateau before it was downsized into a variety of individual segments. These statuesque remains presently decorate Monument Valley'€™s exhibit (yep, it's those aforementioned buttes and mesas).

Next to the Grand Canyon, many people believe this so-called tribal park is the most renowned geologic endowment in the world. For this reason alone, and like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley is conceivably among the most visually arresting sights on the planet.

The two main highways penetrating this region are US 160, the so-called Navajo Highway, crossing nearly straight as an arrow to the south (this stretch extending west from Cortez, Colorado to Tuba City, Arizona and beyond) and US 163 (from Kayenta and curving north toward Moab, Utah and western Colorado, though the route changes to US 191 around Bluff). From a distance the sheer-walled megaliths of reddish-brown and bronze-colored sedimentary features commands one'€™s attention. A usual cognitive reaction from people who, for the first time, notice the serrated and widely spaced outline on the horizon might declare unbelievable. (Or is it OMG! in this Tweet and Twitter cyber generation'€™s shorter jargon?) What a magnetic spectacle the valley'€™s tableau represents to beguiled minds! There is majesty and mystery enveloped in the sweeping panorama adorned with its tall-standing adornments, like ginormous chess-set pieces. Nature'€™s artifice here is indeed expressive as it is mind-bending.

It follows how the first attractive glimpse of Monument Valley is unequivocally a realm of striking variance and unprecedented appearance. If travelers are only driving past the inviting view, it'€™s usually the case most are curious enough to at least pull over to the side of the road and take pictures or shoot a video at select vantage points. Still others go farther (literally), by driving into the seeming still-life mural for a closer view via a straight road leading into the tribal park, then taking an approximate 17-mile dirt loop road accessing the valley, that is, for those who really want to go the distance. And, yes, there's a fee for entering, so give it up and help out the Navajo Nation support its economy.

The Geographical Setting: Monument Valley bestrides the borders of two big states where Utah shares its southeastern border with northeastern Arizona. The valley'€™s fair share of the Southwest'€™s most sensational scenery is in proximity to the equally famed and aforementioned Four Corners axis point. Not too far west of Cortez, Colorado (about 40 miles) all four neighboring states (which includes Colorado and New Mexico) meld their corner estates at the Four Corners National Monument, which is the only sector in the contiguous United States where four states merge their respective borders.

Although today'€™s climate is what it is, especially the prevailing dryness of Monument Valley's appearance, over the eons this landscape alternately has been wet and dry, floodplain and sand-swept desert. Mostly, it is a desert (though not a sterile badlands). There is also a fairly predictable climate, meaning occasional precipitation is likely. Then again, weather patterns, as seasonal storms, never last very long, although such tempests in varying degrees can be intense as long as they occur.

A Veritable Rock Gallery On Display: Monument Valley is part of the larger Colorado Plateau sprawling landscape (measuring some 130,000 square miles). Here in the valley the Mesozoic Era geology (roughly, 250 to 65 million years ago) is mostly siltstone laid down by the Cutler Formation (or the sand derived from its deposition). The source material came from meandering rivers that initially carved this terrain. The vivid red tincture comes from the rich iron oxide exposed in the erosional siltstone (a sedimentary rock). The blue-gray darker rock features obtain their color and tone from manganese oxide.

Monument Valley'€™s buttes are stratified structures posing three principal layers. The lowest is the Organ Rock shale (forming a talus slope or "apron"), the middle de Chelly (pronounced "de shay"€) sandstone, and the top is Moenkopi shale capped by the harder Shinarump siltstone.

Other than the buttes and mesas spread across the valley, fastidiously shaped lesser blocks of rocks in variable shapes, sizes and dimensions abound here. Amongst the gallery are also delicate spirals called hoodoos––€“bizarre and riveting pillars of rock honed by finer erosion. In time, there will be nothing left of their slim structures and each will take a bow (as in toppling). These distinctive attractions, among other skyscraper-sized highlights near and far are also favored by tourists, for their profiles tend to enhance one's perception and equally perplex the charmed and tantalizing view.

On a more metaphysical note, how easy is it to find one's self lulled into an esoteric or spiritual state of mind when peering through this primal window of time? (Easy!) One might even agree these rectangular and perpendicular figures spaced throughout the valley model well-practiced meditation (if only you or I could stand still and quiet for such a lengthy period).

An Artist'€™s Choice Of Hues: Regarding the color scheme of Monument Valley'€™s backdrop, the opulence of the elevated features actually changes color before your eyes (no kidding): maroon, lavender, amethyst, yellow-green, sienna, vermilion, ocher and slate gray––a mutable palette of decorative tincture. Such varied shades and tones depends on the time of the day'€™s light, but also migrating shadows that wash over the monuments. At times, the smooth-faced monoliths appear to advance or withdraw because of the phenomenon of changing light and shadow. Some landmarks may even appear to grow taller, while others smaller, especially during the heavy heat of a sweltering summer day, not rare. The perspective is really never quite the same from any view point or hour of the day. Clouds, sun and shadows most assuredly conspire to arrange and orchestrate a spectacle of manifold temperaments.

What Is Your Outlook? Perhaps only a visual wasteland to some, where nothing gainful to humankind ever seems to germinate, others see the monuments of Monument Valley as a world within a world of patent beauty: vast, primordial, haunting. Although this part of the Southwest is predominately a desert landscape, this valley of telling diversity need not be construed as a sterile locale scoured by gritty sand and priding itself with a ranging matte-like painting of distinctly-shaped rock formations. Not in the least. Even the word desert is a misnomer, for these common sectors of the Southwest are not reminiscent of an uncultivated landscape without inhabitants or a stark wilderness; and not so much as a barren backcountry that's largely treeless and sandy. That classic dictionary description may describe places like the Sahara or Gobi deserts, yet the people who live here see things quite differently. Many even consider the valley'€™s spacious view unduly sacrosanct; and some who view it as wholly mystical. Let me just add how the desert has much to say if you listen. Yet its atmosphere is quiet and austere in a profound way and so you have to concentrate in a meditative frame of mind.  

Hot And Cold, But Mostly Hot And Dry: As far as being one of the most esteemed scenic wonders decorating the Colorado Plateau, Monument Valley is the typically desert-Southwest, where the sun usually rules like an absolute monarch, and the land is quintessentially dry as a dinosaur's bone. Oh, there is plenty of those fossil specimens around here, too, since the time span given the geologic constituency of Mesozoic Era formations is right for it. But for the most part flora and fauna that manage a slim foothold here are drought resistant plants, trees and critters that have learned a trick or two by maintaining a sustainable existence.

Because of its elevation average some 5,000 feet above sea level, the Great Basin Desert that blankets this region is known as a cold desert terrain. A comparison to the neighboring Sonoran Desert far south of Monument Valley is hotter, and seldom does it receive snowfall or freeze. Nonetheless, here in the northern latitudes ample sunshine prevails. Unlike the Sonoran or Nevada'€™s Mohave Desert, there is also a fairly generous allotment of rain and snow during the winter. Thus the meaning behind a cold desert.

What Happens When The Weather Turns Inclement? During the summer season visitors coming to Monument Valley are apt to see telltale curling fingers of congealed moisture that trickle down from a low tier of clouds laden with moisture. Lovely and intriguing to behold such seemingly innocent looking billows are also potentially dangerous: they're the product of monsoonal moisture brewed by the Gulf of Mexico. People are therefore advised to take caution: cloud bursts on an enormous scale are probable and the desiccated ground cannot absorb too much water during such deluges. Flash flooding is always imminent and a threat. Even the circuitous road through the valley becomes impassable in places when sheets of rain burst from the cloud canopy. Better to wait forty-five or so minutes and let the returning sunlight dry out the muddy and rutted route, while gushing arroyos return to normal––and €“dry conduits once more.

On A More Personal Note––€“At First Sight Utterly Engaging: Since I first set eyes on Monument Valley I immediately sensed an uncanny rapport with its inviting macrocosm. Something inside told me I had been here many times before. Thus the strangeness of previous lifetimes without proof (of course). However, in that re-cognized sense of €˜seeing again I felt I had come back home. Then again, this geologic estate and its fanciful citadels from near to far happens to be a popular and mercantile backdrop for any number of cinematic productions that I have watched over the years, mainly the aforementioned Western genre. In this light, and by way of movies and television, I was vicariously familiar with the roster of tall-standing statuettes of monster-sized rock facades decorating the altar floor of the valley. Yet the deeper feeling I drew on was not based on such artificiality or perceptible entertainment. Rather, it was the locus of those ineffable sensations drawn from the far side of the metaphysical veil that separates banal reality from the supra mundane, the profane from the sacred. I therefore didn'€™t need a proven rationale for my notions about such matters. Those feelings were plainly rooted in ethereal soil. In short, I was indeed turned into a time traveler; at least my mind and spirit that wasn'€™t trapped inside a fluid and skeletal physique.

Although much has changed since those exploratory days when I was first smitten by Monument Valley's tacit incantation, the scooped out setting is still the same. There's just a lot more people coming here––€“the ubiquitous tourists––€“who, like me, want to feel a part of the Mother Earth and Father Sky in a special way.

Why People Revere This Place: To mention the subjective aspects about this diary, the fountainhead of my thoughts flows from frequent hiking and backpacking treks inside Monument Valley, as well as its contiguous backcountry. Other than the charisma of the visceral backdrop, what grounded my being was the solitude, silence and solemnity of this sandstone mecca (implied in a non sectarian sense). As an emotional, indeed a transcendental, morphing peculiar to some imaginative or romantic types, I just get this place in all its aspects. Call it an innate understanding at some level. Call it a mystical awareness. Call it. . .something.

To all the above explanation I add how there are special times, just like there are special places, where forever and for all time is seemingly captured in mere passing moments. The representation of Monument Valley'€™s wondrous view (by words and imagery) presented in this effusive diary is simply what it is: only the mind witnesses the changes, although I am cautioned by the Sutras, that I am not my mind. Nor is there any distinction in anything––€“no opposites––and therefore no duality. All of which is strictly mind stuff that opposes the no mind concept endorsed by the more abstruse teachings (Ch'€™an Buddhism's credo, for instance). Still, one can and should enjoy Monument Valley any way one prefers. It's just that sometimes an empty mind free of its analytical thinking helps generate renewed passion and awareness given a fresh perspective of life. (And how silly of me to say all this with such blasphemy of written description. . .mea culpa and pardon me for living.)

Let me put it this way: Seeing in the valley what rises before you without having expectations and being spontaneous in the moment abets the mind in tuning out the extraneous while the heart tunes in what is ultimately real and meaningful.

The Tour's About Over: I would like to share with you these two thoughts from Nancy Wood'€™s book, Many Winters. She also knows the Mother Earth in a similar way that some of us know and respect, except she sums much of what I feel about life and the environment in this concise statement:

          The Earth is all that lasts.
          The Earth is what I speak to when
          I do not understand my life
          Nor why I am not heard.
          The Earth answers me with the same song
          That it sang for my fathers when
          Their tears covered up the sun.
          The Earth sings a song of gladness.
          The Earth sings a song of praise.
          The Earth rises up and laughs at me
          Each time that I forget
          How spring begins with winter
          And death begins with birth.

          The land here is peaceful.
          It is bathed in golden light which smoothes out
          The edges of harshness so that everything is right.
          With the sun always in our eyes
          We have a lazy vision which
          Finds fault only on cloudy days
          Even in winter the land is soothing.
          It rises and falls so gently that
          Our eyes grow heavy following it to the horizon.
          Here and there the sleeping trees
          Reach out to the sky.
          Here and there are our fields and horses,
          sleeping, sleeping.

          Is it any wonder
          That we love the land the way we do?
          We dance to the beat of it
          And perceive its rhythm as our own.

Her eloquent praise is a rich and deserving representation. What follows is my personal dedication. To me, Monument Valley is another kind of OZ, a place that'€™s both beyond and within the scope of imagination. Here the yellow brick road is not paved and about the only greenery is what'€™s in your wallet (if there is any cash). Rocks grow here; not trees and verdure. And there is no great and powerful wizard that lives here, though some people claim spirits or ghosts (in Navajo, Tliz'zih) are occasionally seen or sensed wandering about (some of whom are said to lurk inside dust devils, which are whirling dervishes of fierce wind and sand aimlessly dancing across the desert).

Still, I have found this idiosyncratic place on this side of the rainbow. It is real and not imaginary. I hope you enjoyed the tour.

Happy trails wherever you wander and wonder! If you would like more of these informative Colorado Plateau country tours. . .please let me know. As always, intelligent and thoughtful commentary is most welcomed!

By the way, I am launching a special two-phase diary tomorrow morning, starting with a special flick straight out of the historical archives (on the Glen Canyon of old). One of use (isn't that how the back East expression is written?) talked me into sharing a rather prized 8mm movie filmed by the legendary George Steck. It's not on par with Hollywood's standards (or Hollyweird, if you prefer), the quality and color, but I assure you it's the kind of nostalgia and realness that can't be duplicated no matter how great the CGI treatment. So, bring the popcorn and a beverage and I'll supply the rest, including a supplemental diary narrative I composed that fills in George's voice over remarks.

Rich
http://www.grandcanyon.org/...

P. S. Speaking of that above mentioned mythical river and the equally mythical valley's backdrop, where do you think directors and producers chose to film those scenes? Here'€™s a hint: the next time you watch one of the Duke'€™s many movies that was filmed here take a closer look at the geologic setting on both sides of the river. The contrast compared to Monument Valley's geology should give you a clue. I'll post the answer in the next diary. (Until then see if you can guess the movie title from this scene.)

12:48 PM PT: THANK YOU Phoenix Kossacks for reposting my diary. Most kind of you. And very much appreciated.

5:10 PM PT: Folks, your responses have been simply overwhelming. Thank you, one and all. I think I am going to rest my eyes and return to responding to additional commentary, if any, sometime tomorrow. I am also launching a back to back special diary tomorrow, the first being that of, well, what has to be a world premier of a 30 or so minute film made back in 1959, in Glen Canyon. Stay tuned for that, because something tells me it's really going to rouse a lot of DK os minds out there, and the ensuing narrative (as additional background) might keep me pretty much busy tomorrow responding to your thoughtful comments. I am humbled to be writing for such a great and supportive group. Really. Humbled. Gracias!

Originally posted to richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:33 AM PST.

Also republished by Phoenix Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (114+ / 0-)

    Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

    by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:33:54 AM PST

  •  a beautiful morning diary (18+ / 0-)

    Such wonderful pictures, thank you!

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:46:01 AM PST

    •  US Blues. . . (7+ / 0-)

      and I thank you for your compliment and the excellent support of you and Daily Kos community. Since qua non in my book!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:27:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And you're welcome. . . (6+ / 0-)

      US Blues for the photos. I am told by some DKos community folks the pictures embellish the text, or perhaps it's the other way around. So, whenever possible I always do the extra research and find something supportive in the way of a complimentary picture highlighting something in the text. Glad you and others don't mind all the verbiage in between. For me, writing about such places is like a proud parent talking about his or her kids; only mine come in a great big geographic features and often very interesting topographical etchings and creations.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:55:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Visit Monument Valley in Winter (17+ / 0-)

    Many years ago, I had the chance to travel through Monumvent Valley while transferring jobs from Utah to the Midwest.  This happened in mid-December and it was a snowy season that year.

    I would heartily recommend visiting Monument Valley during the winter for several reasons.  First, seeing the Valley's features limned in snow is breath-taking and the snowfall helps clear the air of any pollutants which might have drifted over from LA and Las Vegas.  Second, the traffic is less and one can drive at whatever legal speed is desirable for the best viewing.  Lastly, one might actually see some of the arroyos with flowing water, which is not a sight one would generally see during the summer dry season.

    Thanks for laying out the wonders that this treasure of nature contains.  Everyone in the nation deserves the chance to see this natural treat for the senses at least once in their life and I consider myself most fortunate for having had that opportunity.  

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:58:11 AM PST

    •  And so, thank you. . . (8+ / 0-)

      PrahaPartizan (love the handle) for your comments, and, YES, I prefer winter outings, mainly because there are few touristas around, and so the chance of being ensconced in the 3 S's (solitude, silence is solemnity) is a given. I also don't seep too much, maybe 2 hours a day, and sometimes lucky to 4, and so guess who's up prowling most of night? Guess what the best time is for coming across critters? As for the colder temps that some people don't care for, even so-called inclement weather, I like the Norwegian saying, "There's no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothing!" So dress for the occasion. Anyway, I have managed to hike nearly every square foot of the Colorado Plateau's 130,000 square miles; well, give or take, and many times did I freeze my carcass off traipsing through the wonders of places like Monument Valley, or its twin, Mystery Valley, and if you get along with the folks on the res, if they like and trust, they do not hassle. I m tempted to write another feature story about the Big Valley, this time my encounter with a Hollywood movie crew who didn't exactly care for me messing up some of their scenes (an accident, really), but the Navajo rangers considered me a "guest" on their property and guess who had carte blanche privileges and was therefore sanctioned to do whatever I needed and go wherever I wanted? Thanks, again, for sharing your thoughts with me about this awesome valley. If folks can't get there, then I hope my loquacious (by way of writing) tour engenders a close experience to being there.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:52:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great advice (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, shortgirl

      There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

      by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:56:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I best get in a comment before the hundreds (10+ / 0-)

    to come.

    I've only started to read but I've hot listed to read at my leisure.

    I have to say you must have experienced the people and the area in a way that only living with it for 40 years can give you. I came very close to there a couple of months ago while sussing up the south side of the San Juans and also visiting on the Ute Reservation. I noticed the Navajo reservation was to the south but didn't go as I had no reason other than to look and see. I'll be back and I'll continue on as I've seen those towers in photos forever.

    Back in the early 80s I lived for a short while in Moab and we walked doing grid patterns fifty or more miles long going all the way over the Lasalles. Much of the area was BLM then, we were doing seismic exploration. Even in my short stay I have to say the country is gorgeous, not only the views but the way things grow and the quiet that is only interrupted when a piece of rock falls. And they fall all the time, all you need is a place quiet enough.

    So many places to see, time runs short. I envy you your 40 years.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:27:47 AM PST

    •  Beautiful pictures, well researched and presented (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, ExStr8, shortgirl, KenBee

      diary.  Thanks for the much needed break!

      When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

      by Bisbonian on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:37:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bisbonian. . . (7+ / 0-)

        thank you, and may I assume from your mission statement (as I call them) you are a Scruggs kind of guy (or others of his ilk)? Anyway, thank you so very, very much for your compliments on the article. I'm never quite sure how the DK community is going to take my blabbering with these lost epistles, but apparently all are tolerable and so I humbly thank all of you. I have been an educator nearly all my life, and I love research and sharing key information with others, breaking down the stuff to a common level and making sure everyone shares in the booty. With Monument Valley it's not just about the stunning view, but also about the Navajo. I am honored to have been given permission to hike and backpack on so much of their land, even to Inscription House and Kibito Canyon (slot country), which I think now is off limits to everyone. Still, I plan only writing these diaries (in the future) given what I know and have experienced. So, thank you and all of you for being so supportive. After publishing the diaries I can assure you my face remains red most of the day reading the thoughtful remarks left by all commentators. Wow! You know?

        Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

        by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:57:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My fingers don't work like Scrugg's did, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aunt Pat, AZ Sphinx Moth, shortgirl

          So I play an older, clawhammer style that I learned from the writings of Pete Seeger.  Learned a few other things from him, over the years, too.

          I think there is LOTS of room for more of your diaries here, and I know that some will appreciate it.  You might look up Kossack "Ojibwa", and join her group, to increase the number of eyes that would catch them.

          When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

          by Bisbonian on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:18:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ban nock. . . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Van Buren, ban nock, Aunt Pat, shortgirl

      thank you. I will be most happy to supply you with all the info you've ever wanted about the Southwest's scenic and iconic places, I mean, when you visit this sector again. Just contact me via my profile's email and we'll go from there. In fact, I am thinking of sharing some of the information from a tome I expect to have published next year called "Scenic Landmarks" something or other, and will be presented in the guise of an educator's field guide for laymen and professional alike. Ergo, the essentials of geology, natural and human history relative to over 100 famous settings, including, where application, hiking trails. Anyway, yes, to address your thoughts about the plus 40 years I have roamed the Colorado Plateau, and about half those years as a professional guide and educator. . .I mean, wow, you don't make a ton of money doing it, but oh my, the genuine humanity of interacting with so many fine minds, such as yours, is just. . .well, let me say humbling and overwhelming. I mean, to think I even got paid for such a role. Incidentally, if you once lived in Moab, then that qualifies you for being of the ilk of a desert rat (a good term, really) and maybe one of Abbey's followers. Did you happen to know his clandestine A-B-C canyons he loved so much, but didn't tell too many people about these locations. Some of the best hiking in that region can be found in same. Here's a hint: the fellow who happened to get trapped by a major boulder and consequently cut off his arm to get free...he was more or less in that area. Again, thank you for comments, Ban Nock. Most appreciated.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:44:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  we saw lightning arcing between the three sisters (8+ / 0-)

    as a storm started in mid-JUly a few years back.

    It looked like a Jacob's Ladder.

    Part of a very memorable trip.

    •  JMcDonald. . . (5+ / 0-)

      thanks for posting and let me also say I can relate to what you just described. . .a Jacob's Ladder electrifying effect indeed! Those three sister totems are near, what is it. . .John Ford's locale. . .and when storms vector through the valley it is glorious, simply glorious (though I've seen many a PO'd tourista get stranded in the valley and all that red dust-turned-cement (like caliche) to the point even Hummer's get stuck. Anyway, I once climbed (I'm not going to say because, well...I'm not) and spent a night on a butte and got to watch the most spectacular electric night show (but no rain). All lightening and booming and I swear by all things holy I thought I was a deity in Paradise. I love a storm! Apparently you also have a positive feel for such.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:52:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

    by Aaa T Tudeattack on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:57:14 AM PST

    •  you're welcomed. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      and I trust reading through this lengthy piece was not too aging, Aaa T Tudeattack; you know, time consuming. But this setting, Monument Valley, entails so much to talk and think about (from the perspective of the writer). At least that's how I feel about it. Again, thank you for being so appreciative.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:01:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks and . . . (8+ / 0-)

    I might add that one (very cool) approach to the tribal park is to drop off the upper Colorado plateau (from Utah just east of Natural Bridges National Monument) via Utah State Route 261, the Moki Dugway, into Mexican Hat and then east to Monument Valley.  As you head south and approach the "Dugway" section, the earth seems to drop away . . . the switchback section that follows (built in the late 50's to transport uranium ore) drops 1100 feet in 3 miles.  The driver needs to pay attention, but passengers get some awesome views.

    Perhaps, when I get around to it, I will be able to diary (with pictures) about some of the rock art of the Colorado plateau, one of the features of the area I have long been fascinated by.  (Heck, I'll be rowing down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon this summer - my third opportunity - and that might be worth sharing with the community upon my return too.)

    When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

    by foolrex on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:33:22 AM PST

    •  spot on. . . (4+ / 0-)

      foolrex, your suggestion coming off the Moki Dugway from that sector, and from Nat'l Bridges, because climbing up that steep face (from the Comb Ridge side) is, for many people, scary, scary. Pay attention, indeed! And since you mentioned it, the Colorado Plateau, that is precisely the subject matter for next weekend's diary posting, starting on Friday and lasting through Sunday. I used to be a boatmen on the Green and Colorado rivers, and the Yampa, and got to see and experience, as you have, the John Wesley Powell country. . .last time I rowed through the Grand was a dory-wanna be (can you guess the name of these smaller neoprene craft?). And I know I, for am, am counting on your diary posting when you complete this trip. I will add my name toute suite to your Follower's list. I take it you'll be in a private rafting party, maybe even after the engine rigs quit for the season. (I used to work for the old Western Rivers Expedition, when Jack Curry owned it. And if you don't mind my name dropping a bit, the man who taught me the difference between an oar and a whore was the celebrated and late Jake Luck. (The difference? One pulls you through the water, the other you get to ride. . .I think that's how Jake once put it.) HA! Thanks, again, for your wonderful take on things. That Cedar Mesa country (around Mexican Hat. . .outstanding and stunning in all ways.)

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:02:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, private party . . . (0+ / 0-)

        This will actually be my third private party trip through the Grand, all as a boatman.  Since we are name dropping, on my first trip (1987), while we were stopped at the Little C, I met Georgie Clark when her commercial group pulled in.  Talk about a character!  I did the Dinosaur stretch of the Yampa a few years back.  When I started with whitewater, the "backyard" river was the Rogue and I have also been lucky enough to do the Salmon and the Selway up in Idaho, but desert rivers hold a special place in my heart (as does the Colorado Plateau).
        Not sure what sort of boat you are referencing but I started boating with an old Sevylor Tahiti (which I would not recommend on the Grand - I had a raft by that '87 trip) and row a SOTAR Elite these days.  Maybe you were on a cataraft?
        The Colorado Plateau is a HUGE area to even begin to cover via diary (with everything from human history, to dinosaur fossils to geology and more to touch on, in addition to the sheer square miles of area).  Pretty daunting and I commend you.  This Monument Valley diary already made me add myself as a Follower to your offerings, so I look forward to your diary.

        When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

        by foolrex on Mon Jan 14, 2013 at 10:29:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Love your pics, love that part of the world! (7+ / 0-)

    Was hard to drive on past Monument Valley through Kayenta on our trip to Glen Canyon NRA and Zion this past November!

     

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:36:54 AM PST

    •  those darling critters. . . (5+ / 0-)

      divineorder. . .and thanks for your comments. Tell me: which one in the picture you sent is the ram that made the ewe turn? Ok, that was bad. Anyway, I hope you at least stopped to take some photos from the road. . .even from Kayenta Aglatha, the darkened diatreme bursting through the skin of the Earth, stands out. Of course, the most sensational valley on the planet is on the other side. But at least you got to see part of Glen Canyon and all of Zion (which I hope you drove into the park from the eastern sector (Checkboard Mesa) and out the western portal (Springerville). Did you? So, thanks for the pic and I am thinking from the Mesozoic Era geology platform those lovely desert bighorn are posing on. . .you got the shot, as it were, in Zion. N'est pas?

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:54:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your pictures are awesome, and thank you (6+ / 0-)

        especially for writing about helping the Navajo economy through tourism.  We have been camping in BLM Valley of the Gods instead the last few times, and its time we went back to Monument Valley in solidarity with the Navajo.

        And yes, we took a few driveby pics including this one:

        After kayaking on Lake Powell we went to Zion on impulse. It was late so in Kanab we took the route toward Hurricane and the Smithsonian Butte backway.

        We later exited the park through the East side, as you correctly guessed.

        Namaste.

        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:15:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  it is so nice meeting you this way. . . (4+ / 0-)

          and thank you, again, for your endorsement. If ever you return to this neck of the woods, the Colorado Plateau, be sure and let me know and as a former owner of a larger ecotourism and ethnotourism company, and my own experiences trekking and teaching through this awesome territory, I love sharing information with others. Just email me by way of my profile. As for the Valley of the Gods, sprawled out below the great Cedar Mesa, many claim it is a miniature Monument Valley. Maybe, but it is a truly unique and other masterpiece of nature. I don't know if you ever got a chance to get off the road and get into the Comb Ridge monocline sector, but if you do come back, do so. That is amazing gorgeous country. Your exiting through the eastern sector of Zion, though coming by way of the Hurricane (fault) sector. . .good choice. (You may have started your tour in Lost Wages (what is otherwise known as Las Vegas). Gorgeous country (once you leave la-la land and head north). Do you know that fault zone goes allllll the way into the western sector of the Grand Canyon, there at Peach Springs (Arizona) and so huge there's a road all the way down to the bottom of the canyon, very drivable for most vehicles, and right to banks of the Colorado River? Oh, and, YES, I love supporting all the tribal people I have met and worked with over the years. The Navajos are just a great people and they do very much appreciate tourism's contribution to their coffers.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:37:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Great and thanks for the kind offer! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aunt Pat, KenBee

            Probably won't be back that way until next year as we are going next to Costa Rica for a month and Africa for 3 or 4.

            Did not know about the Peach Springs road, sounds very interesting. Have not explored the Comb Ridge area either.

            Over the years our camping trips out west were mostly from Austin, so we had little time to get out back like you have done. Now that we are retired, have more time so always interesting to hear tips like yours !

            FWIW much of our travel over the years has been outside the US -- over 40 countries.

            Since we retired from teaching HS we have been putting our trip notes up on Traveljournals.net .  

            http://www.traveljournals.net/...

            Before they took down their counter it showed that we had over 3 million hits since 2005.

            Before thanksgiving the traveljournals.net site went down and is still not fully functional, so we decided to give TravelPod a try.

            Through Indian Lands to Heaven - Santa Fe to Lake Powell / Zion and Back

            Read more: http://blog.travelpod.com/...

            Again, thanks for sharing this post!  

            Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

            by divineorder on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:09:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  oh, and this post, too (0+ / 0-)

              I will take a look at your site and maybe get time to post from same (to you). What subjects in HS did you teach? I still do some sub'bing when I can get the work, and prefer math or sciences, but anything, almost, will do. I really enjoy the kids and they think I'm nuttier than they are! Anyway, 3 million hits is really something to brag about. I have to add my signature, too. If and when you do get to the Peach Springs area, the Haulapais are great and fun to be with. I've been going there for nearly 40 years, also to the neighboring Havasupai sector, to Supai, the village, and then to those stunningly beautiful falls 2 miles below the village (turquoise water due to travertine). Even an ordinary car can make it all the way to the bottom without too much trouble. BUT do not get caught in the lower sector if there is flash flood danger; you'll likely wash out somewhere in Lake Mead. You won't like the 60 or so mile ride down the Colorado. Anyway, I'll try the new site and look you and your partner up. Like you, most of my traveling (when I'm not working in my field, here in the Southwest) is all around the world. We'll have to share stories, some time.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:53:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  P. S. (0+ / 0-)

              Before leaving a comment on the site I"ll have to first sign up and join (as a member). I put the site on my bookmarks and will get around to doing that tomorrow sometime, then post a comment to you, divineorder. You two don'g look a day over 30! How'd you retire so darn soon! Oh well, a compliment is a compliment, right?

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:55:13 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  P. S. (3+ / 0-)

          lovely photo! And does it not look like a sort of miniature to Aglatha Peak, the main sentinel (volcanic plug) outside Monument Valley? I'm thinking.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:44:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. Its very near road as you get within ten (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Aunt Pat

            miles or so east of Kayenta...

            Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

            by divineorder on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:10:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I know it looks familiar (0+ / 0-)

              your picture, that place, but for now I just can't place where exactly it is. But I keep shapes like that in my head, so who knows. . .maybe one day I'll be in that sector and see it, either for the first time, or the second time. Thanks for the added commentary, divineorder. I like that handle you use.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:46:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Best time to visit is August. (3+ / 0-)

    Not for optimal temperatures, no, but for the best chance at a thunderstorm or two crossing the Valley.  Google Image Monument Valley thunderstorm to see what I mean.  Assuming the monsoon season has provided some rain, the Valley floor is generally greenest in Aug/Sept. (as well as March if winter rains have shown up).

    Such a gorgeous, gorgeous place.  I've visited it every time I've driven that route from Denver to Phoenix & I always will.  

    Thanks again, Rich, for a great diary.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:11:31 PM PST

    •  hey there, Leftcandid. . . (5+ / 0-)

      stopping by the valley en route from Denver to that other hotter than hell valley, Phoenix. . .well taken. When I lived in the Rockies and made frequent trips to the Southwest I always drove out I70, toward Grand Junction, then headed to Moab and all points south. I'm thinking you have done the same over the years. I think that is some of the most breathtaking scenery, certainly the route, on the planet. And I wonder if folks really know just how many treasure trove scenic places are found along that route? Monsoons have not been kind to us throughout much of the Southwest (for at least 3 years). We have the phenomenon of La Nina, which is the 'drier' sibling to El Nino, and we are mostly parched. Meanwhile, the Midwest and East Coast picks up the worst of the weather because of this, the so-called Southern Oscillation Flow, which, of course, nails Europe. I don't think MV has seen a decent rainfall, much less a storm, in many years. So, for all of you who come this way and stop and see these fine Navajo people and where this region claims such stunning scenery, I'm thinking "bring water," and not just money. You know?

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:43:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is EXACTLY the way to go, assuming you take (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foresterbob

        the Scenic Bypass HWY 128/Crescent City exit off I-70 through Castle Valley into Moab, then of course the Monument Valley route off 191.  I'm not a world traveler but there just can't be a much more scenic part of the world than S UT/N AZ.

        Don't talk to me about La Nina.  She is forever unwelcome in the Southwest.  I don't usually use the word bitch, but when I do...

        Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

        by Leftcandid on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:43:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  that route. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leftcandid

          the scenic way via Castle Valley. . .yes, I've taken it a time or two and it's quite long but worth the scenery; the La Salle's in your face for part of the way. All that Paradox Basin country (geology) is to die for. Not sure if you know this or not, Leftcandid, but that's all part of the Uncompaghe Highlands truf, the Ancestral Rockies, so-called. It's also replete with the kind of underground stuff fossil fuel industries die for (ergo, a need to protect that landscape from further butchering).

          Yes, La Nina, the bitch. That'll work for me. Man, are we ever parched in this part of the country where I'm living.

          Thanks for the added commentary, ok?

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:44:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Heh (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, aitchdee, foresterbob, Bisbonian
    Incidentally, this posting is written with no intended diatribes
           "My favorite tribe -- is the diatribe"
                                                          --Edward Abbey

    Wicked fine diary, this is some of the most sublime country on the face of the earth.

    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

    by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:53:38 PM PST

    •  wicked fine diary. . . (4+ / 0-)

      oh thanks for that singular commentary, frankzappatista (as in homage to this most singular musician, I take it?). And there's a quote from Ed I never heard before. I'm going to 'liberate' it for future reference. He was the penultimate when it came to polemics and diatribes. Anyway, thank you for what you said. And it is wickedly beautiful country, besides. Mystery Valley next door has zillions of 'windows' and archeological sites. Comb Ridge and the Monument Valley upwarp are great places to literally lose yourself. Boy do I ever love an upwarp, and monoclines, and synclines, and anticlines. . .and, well. You know the country, apparently. Thanks, again, for posting your thoughts and getting it absolutely right: sublime country on the face of the earth.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:58:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Comb Ridge... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aunt Pat

        I've never been there but a buddy of mine went there recently and got some great photos of ruins and natural formations. He also mentioned it was an unusually fertile country, a lot greener than he expected. I can't wait to go there. I'd kind of like to visit the final resting spot of Everett Ruess -- some pretty compelling evidence that he died there, if you recognize the name...

        Did you happen to take that shot of the mitten shadow on the other mitten (6th from the bottom)? I would love to get a copy of that somehow. Amazing shot -- I'm thinking there's only a handful of days out of the year where that would be possible.

        The Abbey quote is from Vox Clamantis en Desierto if memory serves.

        There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

        by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:09:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Everett's not in Comb Ridge (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frankzappatista, GDbot

          Author Dave Roberts, whose story for National Geographic Adventure resulted in the discovery of human remains in Comb Ridge thought to be the remains of Everett Ruess, has written an epilogue and clarified that the remains have been proven not to be Everett's.

          When the story was first published, researchers at the University of Colorado had said there was a match between the DNA of the bones and the Ruess family DNA, and so it seemed Everett had indeed been found.

          To people familiar with the Ruess story, and especially to people who were familiar with the terrain around Davis Gulch where he was last seen, and the terrain between there and Comb Ridge, it seemed pretty astonishing that Everett could have, or would have, gotten to Comb Ridge without his burros---which were found in Davis Gulch. And though I haven't been to Comb Ridge, I have explored extensively around Davis Gulch and the Escalante River, and I too was dubious.

          But it seemed "DNA doesn't lie," and how can one doubt that?  

          To his great credit, Roberts and National Geographic arranged for further testing of the DNA, and the original "match" was disproven. The bones were that of a Native American.

          The Ruess story is a fascinating one, and Dave Roberts has shared that fascination with us through his books and articles. All well worth reading.

          So far, none of us know what happened to Everett. That's ok---it adds to the mystery of the beautiful wilderness where he disappeared.

          My own guess is that his remains are within a day's hike from Davis Gulch---probably no more than 5 or 10 miles away. If he left voluntarily on foot, he wouldn't have gone much further, because he left his burros behind. If he left involuntarily, then he was probably murdered and the body buried on the plateau near Hole in the Rock or carried on horseback to the Colorado River below Hole in the Rock, and dumped in the river.

          That's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.

          I will post a link to an interview with Dave Roberts after the DNA mystery was solved.

          Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

          by willyr on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:22:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Here's the link to the Dave Roberts interview (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            frankzappatista, KenBee

            Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

            by willyr on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:26:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nice article (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              willyr

              A little disappointing but thanks for that. Like Roberts I was taken in by the story of the grave on Comb ridge, kind of a bummer to find out it wasn't him.

              There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

              by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:01:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  oh thanks. . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              willyr

              the article "Finding E. Ruess." Leaving his camp and burros like that, well, it was as though he intended to return later in the day, but it has always been my feeling the idealistic lad slipped or something and you know how high up he could get and go bezonkers with the beauty, then might have, you know. . .fallen back down. Or something. Anyway, thanks for letting me know about the article and where to find it. Good on ya, mate.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:27:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That sandstone isn't something you want (0+ / 0-)

                to stake your life on. A buddy of mine did tours in the Green River canyon, attempted a free climb and fell 180 feet when the red rock gave out beneath his hand. Lucky for him he was leading a tour at the time and there was rescue chopper there in a couple hours. Didn't save him from a 6 month coma though (he's better now, but you still see some pretty obvious affects...)

                There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

                by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:13:06 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  180 feet??? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  frankzappatista

                  Really, that far? Then it must have been a broken fall, where the direct height is avoided by hitting various levels all the way down. Tough break (no pun). And you said the guy is doing better now. That is a miracle. All of us in the guide or educator business of leading so-called 'hard adventures' know the risks and when a chunk of sandstone gives way there is little to do about it other than go with the flow, if possible. Which canyon in the Green: Lodore? Deso-Grey? Stillwater?? Or farther north, say the former Red Canyon area?

                  Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

                  by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:40:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I think you're right, not completely vertical (0+ / 0-)

                    That would be 15 stories high. Ridiculous to survive that.

                    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

                    by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:13:58 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I have no idea what canyon -- (0+ / 0-)

                    this was back in '85 and afterwards he was pretty vague about the incident, and I don't really know those canyons you mentioned. I'm a little more familiar with the Green on the Wyoming side and I can only say for sure he wasn't up in the Wind Rivers.

                    There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

                    by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:30:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Wow, thanks for the update (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            willyr

            I hadn't heard the new evidence. The whole story is pretty fascinating.

            There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

            by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:28:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  your thoughts on this . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            frankzappatista

            matter, and likely thinking Everette disappeared in or near the Davis Gulch area, sure, that makes sense. I've been there before a couple of times and it's one of my favorite Glen Canyon locales, and fairly easy to get into that sector. I have a writeup on it, besides, in one of my other tomes I've written. I'll see if I can find it and send it to you via email. But I don't think he was murdered, sorry. He was a very strange but nice fellow, easily charmed and charming, the friendly type. There also wasn't a whole lot of mayhem going on in that Mormon country; like Boulder, Escalante and all those little towns scattered in that great big beautiful layout. He didn't even have much money as I recall, and certainly was frugal given his possessions. Besides, no one came to plunder his camp and no one knows just how long he was gone, except the burros had plenty to eat and drink. Anyway, thank you, again, for such excellent commentary. And I, like you, enjoy a great canyon mystery. There's two of 'em in my other office downstream, there in the Grand: Powell's three men who disappeared at the near end of the 1869 expedition and Glen and Bessie Hyde. No, let's make it three mysteries: was Billy Hawkins, on that 1869 trip, really meant to be paid for his work (even though he was the cook and cook's always get paid)? Powell never wrote it that way in the original contract and only two others did get paid. What do you think?

            Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

            by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:33:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I tend to think not murdered but (0+ / 0-)

              if he had fallen, even in a slot or some obscure location one would think that traces of clothing or whatever gear he was carrying would have been found by someone, even years later.

              And here's an odd thing. He kept a journal, but none was found in his camp. And he had an artists pad and related supplies. Again---no trace. Now it's very possible---likely even, that he would have carried them with him with plans to camp away from Davis for a few days, since that was why he was there: to observe, and to record.

              But if he were on foot, he wouldn't have been able to carry that much stuff. A few days supply. So that would tell you he wasn't planning on going too far. So that tells you roughly how far away from Davis he might have gotten, alone.

              But if he had encountered sheep herders (Bud Rusho's book says he did, a couple days before going into Davis), or others with horses he could have gone a lot farther, with them. But if so, why would he?

              You're right he didn't have many valuable possessions---what he prized most were his journal and his art. Not valuable to anyone but him. But he also wore a silver bracelet that he got from an Indian ( I've forgotten where) and it was likely worth some money, especially at the height of the Depression. Seems a rotten reason for murder, but not out of the question. And murder, unlike accident, explains why the body and related possessions (journal, clothing, art) were never found.

              Intriguing.

              Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

              by willyr on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:26:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Comb Ridge. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frankzappatista

          is absolutely one of my favorite places to be  trail tramp, there and Comb Wash below. Oh, I'm not Craig Childs type, and that man can hike his buttocks off. . .but I've scored many miles on and beside that major monocline and I can tell you it makes for the best hiking adventure, especially when those tinajas are waterless. Make that, iffy and scary. Still, slip some small pebbles in your mouth, Apache style, and see if that'll slake your thirst. Works for me in a pinch. As for that special shadow shot, nope, wasn't mine; as I keep telling my friend, Joe (nmstarg.com). . .sometimes liberating such stuff is helpful, both to my needs and whomever the photo, in this case, belongs to. But often there is no ownership assigned to the photos, and so all I can say is acknowledging Google for the gift. You know.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:41:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

            Either way, that shot is a real keeper. And I heard of that pebble trick when I was a kid -- from The Professor on Gilligan's Island LOL

            There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

            by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:57:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I found it! (0+ / 0-)

            Photo by Guy Schmicken and yes it can be ordered :-)

            There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

            by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:18:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good lad. . . (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              frankzappatista

              the photo and where it can be found and bought. I'm thinking this guy has similar excellent photography, as well. As for the pebble trick, yes, it really does work, and who'd have thought the idea might have come from Gilligan's Island, the show? LOL, indeed. Thanks. That was funny.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:37:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  With a little more searching... (0+ / 0-)

                Looks like March 30 is the day to be in Monument Valley for that photo, and then again around mid-September. I reckon it varies a day plus or minus with leap years.

                There are two types of republicans, the rich and the stupid. The rich ones strive to keep the stupid ones stupid and the stupid ones strive to keep the rich ones rich.

                by frankzappatista on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:10:07 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  I was gonna mention Comb Ridge (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee

        and how about Owl Rock across from El Cap...
        I'd be awestruck often during a scrimmage out there on the Kayenta HS soccer field - just to stop and look off into the distance.

        Or Black Mesa with storm clouds dropping over the edge, up 2000' from Kayenta.

        Hey - is Basha's still there? The grocery store, or did that close with Peabody coal mine on Black Mesa

        Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

        by PHScott on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:49:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yep, still there (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PHScott

          Basha's. When I was an instructor for Yavapai College (Prescott, AZ), and working with the Elderhostelers (now called Road Scholar Program) I was running the houseboat tours (four weeks in the spring, and 2 to 4 in the fall) and was partly in charge of making the food runs to Bashas (for the trips). I think I was the only instructor paid to teach geology, natural and human history who bad-mouthed the lake (Powell). Do you mean, by the way, Owl Canyon, in Comb Wash or somewhere close to Butler Wash??? Black Mesa I know all too well. What a mess Peabody made of the place (with that monster with the huge bucket and an electric dragline miles long. . .oops, better not let Hayduke read this and then he'll get started on a rant and rage. Anyway, thanks, again, for posting and hearing from you. Again. The Colorado Plateau series starts this weekend: part 1 2 and 3 of everything you ever wanted to know about the Plateau (or didn't). I decided to edge-u-kate some more and reveal the backbone and foundation of all of the Southwest's great hits, such as Monument Valley.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:24:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I was told it's Owl Rock looking east at El Cap (0+ / 0-)

          it was right across the road - a small sandstone formation that if you looked at it right, it was an owl.

          And, being around there as much as you have, do you point with your lips? Can ya point around a corner with them and approximate distance?  :)

          Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

          by PHScott on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:42:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope. . . (0+ / 0-)

            can't point that far, but close! You mean El Capitan and toward the gully? Not sure. I did a partial climb on that thar big diatrime once (when it was allowed) but maybe I was too entranced with that monster volcanic neck. Have you a picture? Maybe a Google Earth search or whatever that spy-in-the-sky site allows one to do. I'll check. Thanks for giving me a task on the matter. But, yes, I'm fairly good at estimating distances, because even though canyon and desert hiking tends to be "how long will it takes to get from Point A to B," thus time, not mileage, I still like to know what I'm ready to tackle on my feet given the mileage.

            Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

            by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:34:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Another stunning diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, foresterbob, Bisbonian

    The hits just keep coming. I read this one through immediately. Nicely done. We are lucky here to have a diarist with so much knowledge and experience about the Colorado Plateau! I can see from the pictures that it is absolutely essential to spend the night there in order to see the color changes, depth and richness that evolves with the sun. Thanks to you, Monument Valley now on the list for our June trip.

    Looks like it is getting as popular as the GC as motels/hotels are already filling up for the summer. Any other tips besides the 17-mile drive and Wildcat Trail?

    Thanks again for the pictures, the thoughtful, eloquent writing, and the poetry! Inspiring indeed.  

    •  Don Enrique... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Don Enrique

      thank you, also, for your heartwarming comment. Email me (profile) and I'll give you plenty of options where else to stay. And, yes, the Valley at that time of year is a bit busy (and speaking German and French and Italian is helpful, which I do). BUT. . .it's a big place and if you can manage a bit of hiking you can get off the beaten track. Kayenta has loads of places to stay, but I recommend Goulding's to the West of the Valley or the new hotel owned and operated by the Nava-Joes, there in the Valley. Anyway, drop me an email and I'll give you all the info you need to have a grand tour of the area. I have been an educator and guide for well over 20 years, at least that much, and am just settling down (wore out? as in the knees?) and writing about my experiences, most of which is all about the Southwest (mainly, I should say). It is a privilege being part of this community and I intend to give everything back. . .for free. . .because these are the best gifts. . .from the heart. And you are very welcome for the diary and pics. Stay tuned next weekend for an entire 3-diary series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which will be all about the Colorado Plateau. You'll need this information to help route you to other sectors when you come a-visiting. Happy trails, right?

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:57:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Flew Over It One Time, Saw The Mittens (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    Still impressive from 30,000 feet.  Also flew over the big meteor crater once, the Grand Canyon many times, and what was probably Cheyenne Mountain or some other super secret base.  You see a lot of weird stuff from the air like little extinct volcanoes.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:29:23 PM PST

    •  So then, bernardpliers. . . (0+ / 0-)

      you're either a top traveling sales person or a pilot. Which is it? But all those places are truly epic from the bird's eye view (or somewhere, say, five or so miles below a satellite's orbit. Thanks for posting. And did you know throughout the Colorado Plateau Province there are something 650 volcanos, including the former primal volcanic activity in and around Monument Valley? The next question to ask is "Why?" If interested, give me a cyber ring on my profile's email. Meanwhile, the last volcano that belched a lot of fire, smoke and lava was Sunset Crater, just east of Flagstaff. That was about 900 years ago, so we're not out of fire yet, if you'll pardon the pun.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:50:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lovely diary; thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision. ~ Helen Keller

    by Pam from Calif on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:33:14 PM PST

    •  Pam from Calif. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pam from Calif

      thank you for the compliment. I am happy you and others have found this lengthy missive "lovely." And just think, when you go there you will know 99% more than the other tourists. Hey, you might even make some money sharing the knowledge. Good luck with that!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 01:51:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My first introduction to Monument Valley (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob

    Was actually via the more compact but quite similar (superficially, at least, but I'm guessing also actually) Colorado National Monument, in central western Colorado not far from the Utah border. Although, come to think of it, there are similar formations in southern Israel, in the Arava valley between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, and others throughout the American southwest. But none are quite as spectacular or moving as the actual Monument Valley.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:03:22 PM PST

    •  Kovie. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie

      I thank you and you, too, have gleaned a lot of tangible experience from this epic Colorado Plateau country. I have been a world traveler and have been on every continent, including my favorite, Antarctica, and I know there are stunningly beautiful places elsewhere, such as in Israel, Egypt, Iran, Jordon, and so many other places. I have always loved and admired desert sandstone terrain. I am a die-hard desert rat, I suppose. Anyway, the Arava Valley. . .yes, I know this place, have been there. I think there are beautiful places and beautiful people everywhere. You just have to notice. Thanks, again, for your lovely comment. Kol Tov!

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:17:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of the more pleasant surprises I was met with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        foresterbob

        upon moving to Seattle over 10 years ago was that Washington's eastern half (more like 2/3's, actually) was mostly desert, some of it even canyon and red rock country. Looking at the map, this made sense to me, as it was a northern extension of the great basin "valley" extending from the Rockies to the Sierrra Nevadas and Cascades, with relatively little rainfall and few permanent rivers (but with the main ones, the Colorado and Columbia, being truly spectacular).

        Here's a photo I took some years ago above the Columbia, not far from Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, northeast of Yakima:

        Photobucket

        Yeah, I like deserts too. Something "clean" about them.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:09:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your picture, Kovie. . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie

          and I would likely live in that part of the country, too, except, well, all that darn rain all the time. I was in Ginko, the mineralized wood place (petrified) and that was long ago. Same with that eastern desert country you mentioned in that part of the state. One of my old Grand Canyon trail hound pals, a neuro surgeon, came from that area and that's the reason I went up to see where this crazy dude came from (a farm boy to a neuro surgeon and that should tell all of us there's something else to do while sitting on a tractor seat). Anyway, if you have ever been to the Columbia River Gorge and tried wind-surfing (I have and made a fool out of myself), hat's off to you if you can navigate that excessively windy passage. Anyway, thanks for posting the picture. Haven't seen water like that in a long, long time. Then again, I'm living in a high desert terrain and all we have is the muddy Rio Bravo (what you folks call the Rio Grande). And it's a mite shallow these years, I might add. (So send us some of your spare water, ok?)

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:29:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, I moved back east last summer (0+ / 0-)

            so no more of that endless rain for me (although, in reality, it rains far more in sheer quantity in the east, it's just that it always looks like it's going to rain in the northwest, and in any case the climate east of the Cascades, where this picture was taken, is very different from that west of them, being much, much drier, sunnier and generally hotter). But it did give me one last chance to drive through eastern Washington and enjoy its beauty.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:43:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Still standing still (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Bisbonian

    Lovely descriptions, impressions, and history.

    On the occasion that I visited the monument it was in late August, if I remember correctly. I too have the romantic imprint bestowed by John Ford's films. I would guess the Rio Grande to your answer. The film came out before my time so my view was on a small TV screen.

    Wow, to actually be there is entirely different. Ford captures the beauty and spirit in so many ways on film but it doesn't capture the air, light, space and stillness that get feel when you are there. I happened to have my didgeridoo with me and mixed my music with the wind passing through. By the time I was finished driving around it was approaching the end of the day. A bit breezy & moist with very few visitors. I meandered around the Dine craft tents and struck up a conversation with an artist. Speaking about the symbols in his work he expressed his deep connection while at the same time frustrated with the way commercial consumerism has lost/misunderstood the meaning. He had a very clear direction and purpose for his work.

    The venders where quiet and let me look around but showed great appreciation for my business. I felt that I was a welcomed guest and I was thankful that they shared this place with me. A experience I will always remember.

    Thank you for stirring up the memories.

    •  First things first. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AZ Sphinx Moth

      AZ Sphinx Moth. . .figure out a way you can send me a sample of that fascinating and wonderful and mystical-sounding didgeridoo that you play. Tried learning it when I was on walkabout (which ended up being around the entire world) in Aussie land. It was a bit much for me. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful commentary and sharing your memories. How insightful you are given what you said about the legendary patch-on-the eye, Ford (". . .but it doesn't capture the air, light, space and stillness"), meaning his movies. I am sure your meeting with minds with some of the Dine was engaging. They are truly wonderful people, and some of whom have the most outrageous and caustic sense of humors I've ever encountered (and, of course, right up or down my street; and sometimes my penchant for same). Always remember when around these people just be yourself and be easy. They will be the same. Thus, avoid the typical rude tourist's behavior and stunts. I'm sure that you already know this given what you just shared. Stirring up memories, by the way, is something I have hoped these missive-diaries produce in the community. Apparently, it's happening.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:24:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A snip of the didg (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bisbonian

        Mind you that I lived on the CA coast when I embarked on this road trip. Breathing at that altitude was a challenge. Embedded is just a 20s snip just for kicks. Time stamp Sept. 4, 2002.

        I made a trip to Australia and was asked by a long time friend to bring one back for him. The store staff gave a free lesson with the purchase. We laughed and joked that it was for a friend and I wasn't a musician. They talked me into buying one for myself at discount and without extra in shipping. So for the hell of it, I picked one out for the artwork quality. They insisted on the lesson so there I was, a female no less, being instructed the art of playing the talking stick by a local. Oh about a year later, I picked it up and used it as a meditation tool. I got out of the habit of playing it daily. Miss it.

        •  Stephen Kent is a fantastic musician (0+ / 0-)

          and an inspiring instructor if you ever get the chance to catch one of his workshops.

          KQED - Spark: Stephen Kent

        •  my oh my oh my (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bisbonian, AZ Sphinx Moth

          AZ Sphinx Moth. . I am so honored to have this video and your music. I love this instrument very much. I was doing some really outback OUTBACK hiking in Aussie land, and one evening stumbled onto an Aboriginal gathering and was invited to spend the rest of the evening (and night) just listening to the music and being with such wonderful people. Truly wonderful. And now you give me this gift. I am in awe. Thank you. Really. Ordinarily, I have decent lung power, but I just could not get the air moving long enough or the right way to make a decent sound. I wonder if I can try it again and maybe see if I don't scare the beJesus out of my cat, Millie, doing it. I know these instruments can get pretty pricey, depending on the design, the wood and so on, but I hear it's possible to get a decent or okay one for around 500. If that's not true, let me know. Send an email and your advice on where to shop. And just think, you have one that was actually made down there. Wow. I'm impressed. And with the video you just sent.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:53:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I full time in an RV. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob

    So of course i spent x-mas and new years at Lees Ferry. Except for the camp host my Son and I were the only ones there.

    I just love the Slots. There is nothing that compares to hiking the canyons with my super trail blazing dog, 'cupcake'. (check the profile)

    "For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document." Mike Lofgren

    by GANJA on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:35:38 PM PST

    •  Ganja. . . (0+ / 0-)

      thanks for posting and for meeting another get-about-traveler and his trusty steed, in this case, Cupcake. I will check out your profile, as asked. Do, please, get yourself (but not Cupcake, sorry) to the Buckskin or Coyote gulch sector, near Paria, where you were, at Lees Ferry. "Spooky" is an excellent slot for people who don't mind the squeeze. Brimstone and some few others are tougher and you'll need rope to manage some sectors. If you want some slot canyon info, let me know. I have a book, my own, on most of the very great places. Oh, sure, Upper and Lower Antelope, which I gather you got to see (when you were near Page) are stunning. But let me tell you both sectors pale in comparison to many other slots, and mainly because you won't be forced to experience the slots with ten million others, or thereabouts (all at the same time). Zion's "Subway" is another great place to hike in that sort of terrain, if you're up for it. And so, have you also been to "The Wave?" Thanks, again, for posting your commentary.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 02:46:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey Rich. (0+ / 0-)

        I've been in Wire and through to Buckskin. I plan on going all the way through and down to Lees Ferry next time but that will be in a few months. Next week its back to Lees Ferry for a few. There's a wash coming down from the end of the Vermillion Cliffs that makes for particularly interesting hiking and it runs right past the camp site.:)

        For those who may be wondering what the shouting is all about, the view from my 'living room' window (Echo Mountains and the Colorado River).

        Photobucket">

        "For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document." Mike Lofgren

        by GANJA on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:53:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hey there, again, Ganja (0+ / 0-)

          and have you ever hiked to the top or else gone all the way around those lovely Pink cliffs? I have and I highly recommend this for hearty hikers. Take mega water, by the way. Those cliffs opposite the Echo on the other side of the Marble Platform are also excellent showcases for massive waste slumping, that is, how the foundation is literally turning upside down. Look at how some of that sector closes in on 89A and just think in thousands of years there will be no rode skirting that lovely setting. By the way, you hiked, say, to Buck Farm, South Canyon, or down to Soap Creek or Badger rapids, from the Platform? Excellent hiking. Actually, backpacking, since it's quite a hoof to get down to the river, especially South Canyon. That's where Robert Brewster Stanton came out on a sortie, for an emergency I think it was, on that ill-fated and silly Brown-Stanton Survey in 1889. Imagine trying to build a railroad line all the through the Grand Canyon to the LA Basin! That's what those fools were doing, though Stanton was the better man (not the portly Mr. Brown, who perished in Soap Creek). Anyway, thanks for sharing. You're making me envious. I'm still here in the Burqy (Albuquerque) just this side of the Colorado Plateau's eastern edge. P. S. Say hello to John D. Lee's ghost for me!

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 04:23:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  P. S. (0+ / 0-)

          OK, you have good hiking legs and skills. Now let me highly suggest doing the entire Paria. I promise you it is orgasmic. Then again, so's those other neighboring slots, Buckskin and Coyote. When you get around-2-it get yourself over to the Kaiparowits Plateau, taking that huge estate on one terrace at a time. Check out Johnson Canyon in the Skutumpah level. You'll also see the old "Gunsmoke" setup that's still extant. If you run into Matt Dillon, the other Matt, get an autograph for me!

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 05:02:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the recommendations. (0+ / 0-)

            I'm going to be checking out every bit of it I can. It is all amazing and overwhelming. Perhaps I'll run into you some time. I am aware of the trail that runs onto those buttes, its just a matter of time before I get there.

            Don't know about Matt, but I might be able to bag Kevin for you!

            Good hiking to you...

            "For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document." Mike Lofgren

            by GANJA on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 06:02:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful pictures, beautiful diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AZ Sphinx Moth

    Thank you. I learned so much.

    •  now that's telling. . . (0+ / 0-)

      your comment about you learning so much, howabout. Really. That's why I write and share this stuff, because it's very true what is said about some teachers: they teach to learn more about what they're teaching. And sharing these diaries with you and all the rest of the community is rewarding beyond even words I, as a chatty writer, can't describe. Anyway, I am happy you have a good tour on this latest missive. There will be more like it to come.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:48:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and you're welcome. . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno

      and I wonder what just happened to my reply? It seems to have vanished. Anyway, just in case it didn't come through, thank you expatjourno, for your comment and I am happy to say "wonderful" is just the way I feel about the setting. I am also glad you and so many others have enjoyed the tour of words and photos. Let's do it again (which, you can bet, I plan to in future postings).

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:46:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Once again, Rich... (0+ / 0-)

    ... I get the honor of pushing you over the 100 recommendations mark on another outstanding post. You are unbelievable.

    The images in this diary are gorgeous, and everyone felt comfortable enough with you to share their stories and part of their lives.

    You are a great human being, and I hope for many more years of collaborations with you!

    Reuse and commonality are the keys to a robust and profitable space program.

    by The NM STAR Group on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:09:29 PM PST

    •  And thanks to you, Joe. . . (0+ / 0-)

      I finally got off my duff and began sharing some of the too many tomes I've written over too many years. And you are right about the reception of this endearing Daily Kos community. I just hope I can keep their interest and continue finding something to share and write about that pleases.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 07:36:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sublime (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    I love the desert. Having John Wayne in the diary is an insult though quote:
    The interview is reprinted in The Playboy Intervew (Wideview Books, c1981).
     Here is the text of one answer about the Indians:
     "I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that's what you're asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves." -p.269

    "I have to go... There are two gay men knocking on my door asking me if I need any abortions or marijuana. Diary, this may be my last entry" Facebook hysteria after 2012 election

    by pitbullgirl65 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 05:59:58 AM PST

    •  Thank you. . .and now this: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The NM STAR Group

      for the comment. But we don't all feel this way about the Native Americans, any more than they feel a disregard for any outside culture. I'm not sure I get your point, but I know the point made by posting this diary is its endorsement to tribal lands, in this case, the Navajo Nation who damn well appreciate and tolerate tourism. For the most part, we all get along, even the mythical take on the West perceived by the likes of John Ford and actors like John Wayne. He happened to have a big heart for these people, and especially the Navajo who worked with him. They understood the gig. And one can say it is mainly the Western genre of films like "The Searchers," "Stagecoach," and "Fort Apache," all made by Ford and enhanced by the Duke. . .this is how many of us first came to an awareness of a truly peerless part of the county, its iconic scenery, and its iconic people. Unequivocally, I state we, who live in this part of America, the desert Southwest, have learned how to get along and that uglier and ethnocentric history has given way to a better way of life and understanding, where three principle cultures have managed to bury the axe as it were. In short, Manifest Destiny and Expansionism promoted by the likes of President Polk and the Army of the West (something he also advocated) may be a shameful stain on America's history, but we have come a long way and have a long way to go. I think tourism in this part of the country, based on an eco and ethno theme, works for everyone, starting with the tribal people who tolerate the masses. I also owned one the largest tourism operations in the Southwest (www.ecosouthwest.com) and I know the business I did with these people and the clients that supported us was a win-win situation for everyone involved in the process.  

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 07:35:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry I wasn't trying of offend (0+ / 0-)

        you honestly! I feel that remark by Wayne summed up his real feelings towards Native Americans.
        (I lived in the Mohave Desert which isn't as dramatic but has its' own stark beauty. )

        "I have to go... There are two gay men knocking on my door asking me if I need any abortions or marijuana. Diary, this may be my last entry" Facebook hysteria after 2012 election

        by pitbullgirl65 on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 04:05:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  nope. . . (0+ / 0-)

          I didn't take it that way. But since the Duke's days things have sure changed with these the Navajos. They don't even take crap from filmster upstarts that might want to take over the res when filming (that happens now and again). But the Navajos are now in complete control of their lives and ways and so are all the other tribal people in the Southwest. I, too, lived in the Mojave and you do get used to those good looking Joshua Trees. . .relatives of the rose plant, I think. And it is a stark beauty and remarkably different from the Great Basin and Sonoran deserts. Anyway, 'ole John mellowed in his older years and I'm glad he (and some of the other Hollywood gang did). Email me through my profile site and I will share a true and funny story about what was really going on in the minds of Navajos and filming back then. So, thanks for writing back.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 06:24:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

            I will email you later. And I loved living near the Joshua Tree National Monument park. :)

            "I have to go... There are two gay men knocking on my door asking me if I need any abortions or marijuana. Diary, this may be my last entry" Facebook hysteria after 2012 election

            by pitbullgirl65 on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:07:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  anecdote (0+ / 0-)

    The first time we visited Monument Valley we managed to miss the turnoff and drove several miles past before we realized our mistake and turned around.

    On the way back, we stopped at a turnout with a wonderful view of the formations a few miles away.

    My wife walked a fair distance ahead of the car, and while she was admiring the view, a rather menacing-looking biker pulled over and approached her.

    She was a bit concerned, until he asked her "Isn't this where they filmed Forrest Gump?"

    Turns out, we were pretty much exactly at that scene in the movie.

    •  JMCDONALD, thank you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JMcDonald

      for this memory lane story of yours. And you know something, I know where you folks ended up; the valley drops deep in that sector and both 'mittens' are to the south from that view. I think now there's a picnic table or some such, or else the Navajos made it into a special scenic overview. Anyway, the view from that angle is the most people don't see. Glad you do. If memory serves, Forest is trotting from the Valley, headed west, with his entourage. I'm not sure I remember him near that place where you were, so hooray. . . I get to watch the movie again and I'll be sure to let you know what I find out. So, thanks for the shout and I'm glad that menacing looking biker was only interested in the Gump movie. You know?

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sun Jan 13, 2013 at 06:19:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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