Monument Valley

Friday – Sunday, March 29-31, 2013

I’ve driven past Monument Valley many times in the past but have never actually stopped in the park before. I decided to spend all day Saturday at the park so that I could photograph the Mitten Shadow at sunset. Since that was my main goal this trip, I’ll start this report with the photo I was after. Twice a year the West Mitten casts it’s shadow onto the East Mitten just before sunset and it’s something that I’ve wanted to try and photograph for a while. There were a lot of clouds on the western horizon at sunset and I almost thought it wasn’t going to happen this time, but the sun did peek out for a few seconds which gave me just enough time to capture the image below. I’d say it was a successful evening!

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Mitten Shadow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Now let’s go back in time to the previous evening when I left work and drove down to the Valley of the Gods to setup camp just as twilight was fading. I quickly went to bed so that I was up in time to catch the sunrise on Saturday morning.

Saturday morning at my campsite as the sun came up.

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Morning Jeep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Since Monument Valley doesn’t open up until well after sunset this time of the year I drove the Valley of the Gods loop road after breaking down my camp. The moon was out this morning…

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Reach for the Moon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The drive to Monument Valley.

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The Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After paying my fee to enter the park I drove the loop dirt road to checkout the park before the crowds showed up for the day.

A view of the Three Sisters from the road.

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Three Sisters by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Nice view from the North Window Overlook.

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North Window Overlook by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After taking my time completing the loop road I headed over to the closed campground and hiked the Wildcat Trail which loops around the West Mitten. It was a nice hike.

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Wildcat Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Later in the afternoon I looked up and saw this sun halo above.

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Sun Halo by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Nice clouds over a typical view of Monument Valley from the Visitor Center.

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Visitor Center View by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

While waiting for sunset with a friend that showed up, we wandered down to this tree and I liked the shadow it was casting on the ground.

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Framed Mittens by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Sunset getting closer… You can just barely see the shadow of the West Mitten starting to creek up the East Mitten in this shot.

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The Mittens by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When the sun was down I headed back to the same campsite in the Valley of the Gods and got back to sleep after reading for a while. The following morning I was up and driving the Valley of the Gods loop road again as the sun came up.

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Morning Drive by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Valley of the Gods by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When I reached the highway I turned right and climbed up the Moki Dugway to the top of Cedar Mesa so I could visit and photograph a new ruin.

It’s a small circular granary tucked in the back of a larger alcove. Very cool!

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Portal Alcove by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were a few handprints nearby, too.

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Muddy Hands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This was a fun one to photograph…here’s two different views.

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Portal by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

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Ancient Portal by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I spent quite a bit of time at this location and then explored a few nearby roads in my Jeep before starting the drive home. It was another nice weekend.

>> Monument Valley Photo Gallery


1 comment

  1. Amanda April 8, 2013 11:39 pm  Reply

    I love Valley of the Gods. We’ve been there three times now and find something new to see every time. Beautiful photos, as usual.

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