Gulliver's Western Travels Spring 2012 travel blog

Does this look familiar?

Driving up to Monument Valley

female hogan seen in Canyon de Chelly

Family Level of Trading Post

Bob in the Bullpen

bedroom and sewing room at Gouldings Trading Post

male hogan

It's really dusty around here

Castlerock and Sitting Hen

Seven Sailors

Cruise Ship?

Lady in her Bath?


Monument Valley is not a valley at all, but rather a wide flat, landscape interrupted by colorful red buttes and spires rising hundreds of feet into the air. These are the last remnants of the sedimentary rock layers that once covered the entire region. It is in two states and totally on the Navajo tribal lands. Does this picture give you a sense of Deja vu? This is the background for Stagecoach, She wore a yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, and numerous other western movies.

The Navajo consider this valley to be a large hogan with an opening to the east to greet the sun. The hogan is much more than a home favored by the Navajo, it is a place of ceremony, a church in fact. Many of the homesteads of the Navajo have a hogan for traditional ceremony, even if they live in a modern home. There are some very modern hogans that have windows and even a satellite dish on the side. The most common hogan style is what is known as the female hogan. It it made of cedar logs and chinked or even covered in sun-baked mud.

The male hogan (I only saw a couple of those) is much smaller and more conical in shape. It is considered a temporary shelter that can easily be taken down and moved. All hogans face the east.

Monument Valley would not have become the icon of Western Movies if not for the efforts of Harry Goulding. Established in 1928 by Harry and Leone (Mike) Goulding, Goulding's Trading Post in Monument Valley conducted business with the local Navajo population, who traded their silver jewelry and hand-woven rugs for food and supplies. In the early 1930's Hollywood was beginning to make the western. Harry showed John Ford pictures of Monument Valley and convinced him to make pictures here. The trading post prospered and so did Hollywood. The family lived above the store.It is now a museum frozen in time.

One of the most picturesque areas is "Valley of the Gods." It is a 17 miles loop through some of the most stunning rock formations. An added bonus is that this is a very good spring and wildflowers are very prevalent. The desert is blooming!



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