Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located within The Navajo Nation.
Its 29,817 square miles of endless geological wonders extends into Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The Navajo Nation is about the size of West Virginia and is larger than 10 states.
Monument Valley was established in 1958 as a preserved environment by the Navajo Nation Council under the Division of Natural Resources.
The Park’s informational brochure states that the Valley “displays a first-hand look at one of the most wondrous natural structures created by erosion.
“This is the place where time stands still—long enough for you to feel the harmony and peace of the last Western frontier.”
When out of the range of the many small tour trucks that transversed the Valley, we commented that we could almost hear the ghostly hoof beats of horses racing across the desert.
It was hard to imagine what this area looked like 570 million years ago when the entire Colorado Plateau was underneath the Gulf of Mexico.
And equally hard to imagine the process of the inland sea withdrawing westward, mountain chains rising along faults, uplifts generated by ceaseless lava pressure, and endless erosion by water, wind, and ice over millions of years.
But we were left with the belief that the beauty of the Valley should be enjoyed from the saddle of a horse*--while being accompanied by a Navajo guide.
And when we were about 50 years younger.
*I'm halfway through the book Talking to the Ground: One Family's Journey on Horseback Across the Sacred Land of the Navajo by Douglas Preston. This was a gift from my aunt Evelyn.