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Published: June 18th 2013
A great day seeing all the Monuments, taking lots of pictures. It’s really interesting to see all the shapes and forms they are. The Thumb, Elephant, Three Sisters, The Mittens, Artist’s Point, The Window; lots of fun titles for each Monument. And there was a “Mitchell Mesa”. Of course, after the dirt road trip we had to head to the car wash, lots of red dirt all over the truck. Looks great now though.
Had a scary few minutes this afternoon, discovering that our credit card was compromised. We quickly got it taken care of and a new one on it’s way to our next stop. USAA is a great company to deal with, especially in this instance. They caught it because they saw all the usage we had in so many different states, out West and this person tried to charge something in NC.
Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft above the valley floor. It is located on the Arizona-Utah state line, near the Four Corners area.
While many incredible formations can be seen from the main roads, the best views
can be had from the 17-mile loop road that runs through the valley. The loop is not paved and can be quite rough and dusty, but the RAM had no issues. You are not permitted to deviate from the loop drive without a native guide present. The loop drive took about 3 hours to enjoy the scenery.
The valley has wide a assortment of vegetation including, Juniper trees, yucca, Russian thistle (Tumbleweed) and Navajo Tea to name just a few. Much of the vegetation is still used by the Navajos for medicinal purposes, and as dyes for their world famous hand-woven rugs.
Below are the movies that have been filmed here, I thought it was very interesting.
Director John Ford
, starring John Wayne
, has had an enduring influence in making the Valley famous. After that first experience, Ford returned nine times to shoot Westerns — even when the films were not set in Arizona or Utah (see The Searchers
, set in Texas, but filmed here). A popular lookout point is named in his honor as "John Ford's Point". It was used by Ford in a scene from The Searchers
where an American Indian village is attacked.
The Stanley Kubrick
film 2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968) features footage of Monument Valley. This footage is used as the surface of an alien planet to which protagonist Dave Bowman
travels through a stargate
. Sergio Leone
's Once Upon a Time in the West
(1968), although shot for the most part in Spain
, features two scenes shot on location in Monument Valley.
1969's counter-culture classic Easy Rider
includes some footage of Monument Valley towards its beginning. Electra Glide in Blue
(1973), starring Robert Blake as a motorcycle cop in Arizona, was filmed in Monument Valley. Clint Eastwood
's movie The Eiger Sanction
(1975) was partly filmed in Monument Valley and both Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy were filmed on top of the "Totem Pole", which has been off-bounds to climbers since the movie was filmed here. Godfrey Reggio
's documentary Koyaanisqatsi
(1982) features footage of Monument Valley. Harold Ramis
's film National Lampoon's Vacation
(1983) features footage of Monument Valley. Ron Fricke
's IMAX film Chronos
(1985) features several scenes of the Monument Valley landscape.
In Back to the Future III
(1990), Marty McFly drives from 1955 to 1885 from a drive-in theatre set at the Valley's base. Ridley Scott
's 1991 film Thelma & Louise
features some shots of Monument Valley, as well as Canyonlands National Park
, in its latter half.
In Forrest Gump
(1994), Forrest ends
his cross-country run here. He is running north on U.S. Route 163
before he stops running. Paramount Pictures
1994 film Pontiac Moon
featured this location as part of the roadtrip.
The opening shots of Mission: Impossible II
(2000) feature Tom Cruise
climbing in Monument Valley. The Return of Navajo Boy
(2000), a documentary about uranium contamination of Navajo lands, was shot largely in Monument Valley where its central characters live. Additionally, the film deconstructs historical media depictions of Navajos and the land where they live (including Monument Valley).
The opening scene of Vertical Limit
(2000) features several rock climbers in Monument Valley. Takkari Donga
Opening song, Telugu Film
(2002), the opening and closing scenes are filmed in Monument Valley.
During the 'Sorter shoot-out' scene in Guy Ritchie
's 2005 film, Revolver
, there is a picture of Monument Valley on the wall behind where Dorothy Macha's henchmen have parked their cars outside the house of Jake Green's elder brother.
(2006), a spoof of Monument Valley called "Ornament Valley" (as labeled on the map in the film) is in the surroundings of Radiator Springs (name coming from the fact that the peaks are shaped like the hood ornaments of cars). Alex Cox
's film Searchers 2.0
(2007) is about a road trip to Monument Valley. The final scenes feature a rare depiction of the area covered in snow.
Location sequences for the documentary Reel Injun
(2009), on the history of Native Americans in the movies.
The rugged desert scenery for the Coyote and Road Runner
cartoons clearly takes much of its inspiration from Monument Valley.
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