As we drove through the northeastern corner of Arizona a sign caught my attention — Monument Valley was ahead — in Utah. Wow, Monument Valley is home some of the most recognizable geographical landmarks in filmdom. Generations have seen the “Valley” in a series of collaborations between John Wayne and John Ford: classic westerns including The Searchers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Stagecoach.
Since I was a wee lad I’ve loved John Wayne’s films, particularly his westerns. So getting to see the “Valley” was very exciting. Once we drove past the four corner monument (the sole location where four states all share a common border) Monument Valley came into view.
Turns out the entire valley’s on private land so the only way to get near the Monuments was to pay for a tour. However, as we got closer it was clear the scale of the Monuments could be better appreciated from a distance.
The rugged beauty and vibrant colors were spectacular in-person. I stared in disbelief — could I really at this place at this time? I could almost make out Duke riding ahead of his cavalry troupe –their horses kicking up trail dust, or was it a breeze?
Suddenly a shiver trickled down my spine; as if by reflex a smile of satisfaction then crossed my lips. I was ten again.