Navajo Monument

Traveling American Southwest… Part II

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At the exit of the Antelope Canyon ( see Part I), we saw this little chick on the ground and heard his mama chirp somewhere close. I quickly took a picture and off we went, in the back of a 4-wheel drive comfortable truck.

In the evening, driving around, we stopped at the marina parking lot and took some pictures of the endless sky, Colorado River, and Navajo Generating Station –  the third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the USA.

colorado river

The next day we drove, all  excited, down to Lake Powell to take a boat tour to the Rainbow Bridge.  A two hours boat ride or a two day hiking? You have to choose if you want to see many places in just a few days. The tour took about five hours, from which four hours on the boat with the most breathtaking scenery all around, and a fresh breeze.

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lake powell

lake powell

This is a furnace ( only about a mile long though) we had to hike through to get to the famous natural  bridge. In the evening I was all red like a lobster, and it was only May!

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We turned around the corner, and there it stood.

Rainbow bridge

lake powell

My daughter said that she wanted to sing for us, and she did, and it was really moving.

Judy Garland, “Over the Rainbow

The next day was Sunday. I saw that there was a church across from our hotel, and I decided to go and mingle with the locals.

I entered the room  and quietly sat in the  back row. When I looked around I realised that all the congregation except me and another couple were either Native Americans or Mexicans. Presiding was a solemnly looking Native American man with long hair, who spoke with majesty and authority. I was mesmerized.

After the service I was about to sneak away, but two young men who sat next to me started conversation and marveled at the fact that I came all the way from Europe. I really enjoyed our conversation and marveled at the fact that I was chatting with 100% Native Americans 🙂 After 40 years, since…

In the 1960s, DEFA film production studio based in Berlin, Eastern Germany  produced the Western The Sons of the Great Mother Bear, directed by Josef Mach and starring Gojko Mitić. Many other films followed. Basically, the films portrayed the good Native Americans and the bad white Americans. What else would you expect from the Cold War era movies 🙂

The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the only archive and research center outside of Germany devoted to the preserving and promoting DEFA movies. In October 2005 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City hosted a two-week DEFA festival, and several titles are now commercially available on DVD.

And for those who wonder – no, this is not American Southwest 🙂 In fact, it is not America at all. The movies were filmed somewhere in Southern Europe and even Mongolia.

To make a long story short – In  this photograph you see Gojko Mitić.

YoungMitic

I was 10-12 years old at that time. The crush wasn’t on him! I still have no idea if he was ever married or something. The crush was rather on his characters 🙂

I and alike, were the most devoted fans he has ever had. We recorded the soundtracks from TV shows, we quoted his characters, we wrote screenplays, made tomahawks and bows, and all sort of jewelry. We went to the library and researched all the books on American history and anthropology that were available. We have read all the books on which his movies were based! He influenced a whole generation, and somehow we knew that the white Americans were not as bad as we were told, because some of them were good friends of Chingachgook, Tokei-Itho, and Ulzana.

I wish all celebrities used their influence upon the young generation as he did.

In this photograph, he is 75 🙂 Yep.

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The following morning we left Page AZ and traveled North.  After visiting Monument Valley we took Utah State Route 261, passed stunning rock formations  – Mexican Hats, and crossed the Valley of Gods. I was clueless  about specifics of US 261… I just wondered, where are we going to drive if there stands a gigantic mesa all the way along the valley… When we approached the mesa, I got it. I asked if I can leave the car and walk. The answer was “no”.  Moki Dugway. I didn’t know we were destined to meet…

Holding my camera tight, I stretched my arm out of the window, closed my eyes and up we went. I cannot tell how many switchbacks are there. Five? Six? There are no protective walls or anything, and we were lucky that no one was traveling down the mesa in their campervan.

Most of my pictures look like this one.

moki

Valley of Gods from Moki Dugway.

moki dugway

This is my daughter’s photograph taken on the top of Cedar Mesa  this year when they traveled the Southwest again. You can see some of the switchbacks.

moki dugway

Our next stop, Navajo National Monument. In the photograph below, there is a whole city in the rock, Betatakin cliff dwelling, as seen across the canyon. Anasazi lived there in the 13th century and vanished  overnight without a trace.

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A dinosaur footprint.

dino track

We traveled through the beautiful desert, and finally crossed the Glen Canyon again.

glencanyon

This is actually a picture of the same area, but taken from the top of the canyon wall. You can see the bridge across Colorado River near the confluence of Dirty Devil River.

glencanyon

Unlike the DEFA movies, this American Southwest is real 🙂

One more video,  and Ennio Morricone music for you.

Thank you for your company!

IneseMjPhotographyHave a great weekend!