Out There Hikes:  Monument Valley Aerial

The view looking southwest of Red Mesa from a Medicine Man's hogan.  Monument Valley is out there . . . 
Please take a look at the photo at the end of the story to see Monument Valley from our plane.

Aerial Photography over Cedar Mesa and Monument Valley
By Craig Watson

I drove from Bluff to Teec Nos Pos, AZ to visit Roy Kady, my Navajo weaver friend.  We talked about our plan for him to teach me how to weave twill beginning tomorrow when weíd drive up the Carrizo Mts to their sheep camp.  Sally Jo and I had spent 5 days with Roy  there in June 1996, also learning Navajo weaving following my Crow Canyon Archaeological Center Navajo Weaving Class in Cortez, Colorado in June, 1995.

Roy is featured as one of 3 artistic, currently-active Teec Nos Pos Navajo weavers in the book TREES IN A CIRCLE, a book about Teec Nos Pos Navajo rugs and the Farmington Foutz familyís rug collections.  I bought myself a copy at the Teec Nos Pos Trading Post on the way out of town.

Returning to Bluff, I did 2 loads of laundry.  A small pile was sweated out from the 5-day back pack hike on the Zane Grey Trail north of Navajo Mountain.  Another friend Brian left a message for me at the Recapture Lodge to meet him for an aerial photography flight through Monument Valley, taking off in a hired private plane from the Blanding, Utah Airport at 5 pm.  I did some business in the area then drove to meet him in Blanding.

This was a lot of fun, especially as Brian, a semi-professional photographer, would direct the pilot into certain angles to get the best shots.  Flying over this confusing landscape gave me the big picture of how all these various landforms hang together, meet and beat each other up, swallow or smother the next butte or ridge.  Sally Jo and I have done a lot of hiking and backpacking in the Four Corners but nothing equals the birdís eye perspective.

We flew south out of Blanding over Comb Ridge.  Cedar Mesa was just west where I recognized many of my favorite hikes and areas to explore, including the Fish Creek/Owl Creek Canyon drainage flowing east off Cedar Mesa which Sally Jo and I backpacked for 3 days several years ago.  But thatís another storyÖ

Then out we soared over the Valley of the Gods and on to Monument Valley, spending an hour circling it twice.  The air tour demystified many of the areas Iíd wondered about for years, an absolutely exhilarating experience.  The plane was cold and windy inside.  I hunched in the back seat of the 4-seater Cessna with Brianís window open most of the time for photography, he riding shotgun.  I took several shots of Brian with his camera hanging out of the planeís window.  I was the assistant, handing Brian stuff but mostly stashing his trash as he shot rolls of film with exotic camera equipment.

Brian shooting Monument Valley from our plane.

Looking north along Comb Ridge with Cedar Mesa to the left and Blanding, UT to the
top right.  Bluff, UT is to the right (out of the photo) and the San Juan River is south.


Out There

Copyright 2002 by Indiana Watson's Indian Weaving.  All rights reserved