Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monument Valley Navaho Tribal Park- September 25, 2012

Last night we had some storms to move through the area and then again this morning we had more rain.  The temperature had dropped to the 50's and did not get above the mid 70's all day.  Clouds remained in the skies until afternoon when it cleared.  We set out today to visit the Monument Valley Navaho Tribal Park about 4 miles from the campground and in the state of Arizona.  As the name implies this is a tribal park of the Navaho nation.  After passing through the pay stations the first stop is the Visitor's Center.  An outside viewing area allows for a panaramic view of the park.  The dirt road through the park appears to be in good shape but we soon found out that was not the case. Tours through the park could be taken on trucks with school bus seats but we opted to do the self-guided tour. The road is poorly maintained.  The views are beautiful.  This area has been used in Western films, most notably several starring John Wayne.

Leaving the park we returned to the Goulding Lodge for lunch.  The Goulding property consists of a lodge, hotel, restaurant, gift shops, a museum and the campground we are in.  In the 1930's the Gouldings- Harry and wife, "Mike"- were responsible for getting John Ford to film westerns in this valley.  A building depicted as John Wayne's house in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" is also on the property.  After lunch we stopped at the Navaho market.  Little kids belonging to the merchants were playing outside the shops.  Returning to the campground a herd of free-ranging horses were along side the road and a herd of goats being herded by dogs crossed over the road after we passed through.