These pictures were taken at Monument Valley, Arizona
on December 26 (late afternoon and sunset) and 27 (sunrise), 2010.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
is not a national or state park.
The area of the park is relatively small.
In the park, except for the visitor center and one trail,
non-Navajo visitors are not allowed to enter
unless escorted by a Navajo guide.
But there are plenty of tour operators.
In case it seems odd, it's actually not unlike other native tribal reserves
around the world.
Like at many other reserves, the Navajo consider these mesas as
cultural and religious landmarks, and forbid climbing on them.
But this one is different because it has been made so well known through being
the film site of all the famous Western movies.
Everything from John Wayne's Westerns to Back to the Future III had parts
Monument Valley is now the traditional symbol of the Old West.
You often hear of Monument Valley as being in Utah.
It's actually on the Utah/Arizona border.
The town of Monument Valley and the airport are in Utah.
The visitor center and these views are in Arizona.
I took some pictures in the late afternoon and at sunrise.
Clouds prevented the best lighting from happenning right at sunset.
The visitor center also has exhibits about the
WWII Navajo Code Talkers,
the group of Navajos in the US Marines who made a military code out of their
language and another original code within it.
The Navajo Code Talkers served in nearly all the battles in the WWII Pacific
The Japanese monitored Allied transmissions and broke all our early codes
in the war until the Navajo Code Talkers, which was never broken.
The ability for the Marines to use a quickly-delivered spoken code that
the enemy couldn't break was one of many significant factors in Allied
victories in battles across the Pacific.