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Author Topic: 2 Questions on Monument Valley and Canyonlands  (Read 3579 times)
philg
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« on: February 02, 2013, 10:59:38 PM »
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I have had the pleasure to visit Monument Valley before (last time was in 2001) and things have changed since then. I will be in the area in early March and it appears the guided and unguided tours at that time are from 8am 5pm, which miss sunrise and sunset. My question is whether you can actually be in the parking lot before or after that time to shoot pictures.

I have been lucky enough to visits Canyonlands National Park six times over the last fifteen years but I have never visited False Kiva. On some posts I read on this forum some people felt that this hike would be better taken by experienced hikers or with a guide and that it was semi dangerous. Could people weigh in on this and indicate whether it would be worthwhile to have a guide only for this purpose? What other items might be combined with this to interest a guide in taking me on this, assuming I decided on that path?

Thanks in advance for any replies.
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kikashi
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 02:39:51 AM »
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I have had the pleasure to visit Monument Valley before (last time was in 2001) and things have changed since then. I will be in the area in early March and it appears the guided and unguided tours at that time are from 8am 5pm, which miss sunrise and sunset. My question is whether you can actually be in the parking lot before or after that time to shoot pictures.

If you stay at The View hotel, you'll be in the place all night. It's a very pleasant hotel, too.

Jeremy
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greyscale
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2013, 10:31:07 AM »
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PhilG,
 Just found this:http://navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentvalleyhours.htm

greyscale.
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cwood
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2013, 08:35:35 PM »
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I hired an authorized Navajo photographer guide at Monument Valley a few years ago. He was allowed to take me into the park before the normal open time. We left the visitor center at 6:30 am while it was still dark. Possibly, the policy allowing this has not changed.

Hidden (False) Kiva is not difficult but it can be tricky. The trail is not marked although Laurent Martres' guide book, PHOTOGRAPHING THE SOUTHWEST: UTAH describes in detail how to get there. There is a steep descent down the side of a cliff although there is not  shear exposure, it is possible to certainly injure yourself severely, even fatally, if you slip and fall into or on the very large and sharp boulders/rocks. Sturdy, supportive hiking boots and hiking sticks are highly recommended and a very good headlight if you plan sunset/dusk shots. The time from the trail at the highway to the Kiva is about 45 minutes.
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philg
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2013, 10:53:25 PM »
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Thanks to everyone for their responses. I've got Laurent Martres book, which is what alerted me to the new restrictions at Monument Valley. He indicated that the tours could no longer get into the park outside the normal visiting hours. This may have changed. Can you remember what month and year you visited? The hours starting in May changed from 6am - 8pm. Unfortunately, they are 8am-5pm in March when I visit. I may call some operators to check in this.
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Roman Racela
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2013, 07:33:46 AM »
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I have not been to Monument Valley, but the 8-5 schedule is pretty accurate according to my friend who wen there late summer of last year.

Like what CWOOD said, False Kiva is not impossible to find but it is tricky. Once you find the trail you can get to False Kiva in 45 minutes or less. You will see stone trail markers or cairn along the way to guide you to the location. There are a lot of srambling around rocks to get there so wear a good pair of hiking shoes to avoid ankle sprains. Don't even hike a guide just to get there. That's a waste of money. I think half of the joy of getting there is finding the spot on your own. I suggest asking a park ranger at the visitor center for tips on how to get there.

Here are 2 shots I took from my trip to Canyonlands last fall.






I have had the pleasure to visit Monument Valley before (last time was in 2001) and things have changed since then. I will be in the area in early March and it appears the guided and unguided tours at that time are from 8am 5pm, which miss sunrise and sunset. My question is whether you can actually be in the parking lot before or after that time to shoot pictures.

I have been lucky enough to visits Canyonlands National Park six times over the last fifteen years but I have never visited False Kiva. On some posts I read on this forum some people felt that this hike would be better taken by experienced hikers or with a guide and that it was semi dangerous. Could people weigh in on this and indicate whether it would be worthwhile to have a guide only for this purpose? What other items might be combined with this to interest a guide in taking me on this, assuming I decided on that path?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2013, 10:04:08 AM »
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The last time I photographed False Kiva my wife came with me, and she was 4 months pregnant at the time.  Your mileage may vary...
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DeltaSierra
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 09:43:10 AM »
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I was at Monument Valley in early December (luckily with mild weather) and had a guide scheduled for a pre-dawn start (0600) to go in the park. For unknown reasons, Daniel Chee Guided Tours did not show up that morning so I shot sunrise from near the View Hotel and hired another guide after that for the rest of the day. I suspect that you can still get into MV before dawn as long as you have a proper Navajo guide with you. You should just call a few of the guides on the published list that Greyscale linked and confirm it and then re-confirm it the day before just to be safe.

As for just being in the parking lot before and after dawn, you can do that freely. I walked the half mile from the hotel down (Northwest) the dirt road past the entrance gate to the park and set up near the RV area which was completely empty in order to frame the winter sunrise with the Mittens. You should have no issues around the hotel/parking lot or RV area any time of day.

Doug
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 11:13:20 AM by DeltaSierra » Logged
philg
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 01:07:29 PM »
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Thanks for the additional responses.

At minimum, I will stop by Monument Valley and shoot late afternoon and the mittens from the parking lot before sunrise. I will call and if I can get in early and out late, I will probably stay overnight and have a guide for late afternoon / sunset and the pre-sunrise / early morning at the dunes overlooking the totems.

In Canyonlands I will go ahead and give False Kiva a shot. As someone said, and its true, getting thre is a rewarding and fun part (as long as I don't injure myself) of the photographic process in many cases.
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bretedge
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2013, 09:38:41 AM »
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I'll only add that it is now prohibited to commercialy guide anyone to False Kiva.  I am an authorized photography guide for the southeast Utah national parks, which includes Canyonlands, and last year all CUA holders received notification that False Kiva is now off-limits.  So, if a "guide" offers to take you there they are doing so illegally.  Private parties are still allowed to visit False Kiva.

Enjoy your trip!
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 02:05:58 PM »
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I'll only add that it is now prohibited to commercialy guide anyone to False Kiva.  I am an authorized photography guide for the southeast Utah national parks, which includes Canyonlands, and last year all CUA holders received notification that False Kiva is now off-limits.  So, if a "guide" offers to take you there they are doing so illegally.  Private parties are still allowed to visit False Kiva.

That can only mean it's only a matter of time before the site is closed permanently to the public.
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bretedge
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 07:04:44 PM »
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That can only mean it's only a matter of time before the site is closed permanently to the public.

I have several friends who are rangers in Arches and Canyonlands.  A couple years ago one of them informed me that a proposal was being considered to develop a trailhead and parking area and an actual trail to False Kiva.  The proposal called for the ruin to be chained off, which would completely ruin the photo opportunities there.  Thus far that project has not been approved.
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2013, 09:16:48 AM »
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I have several friends who are rangers in Arches and Canyonlands.  A couple years ago one of them informed me that a proposal was being considered to develop a trailhead and parking area and an actual trail to False Kiva.  The proposal called for the ruin to be chained off, which would completely ruin the photo opportunities there.  Thus far that project has not been approved.

Honestly, I'm torn on that one.  I guess the question is, what's more impactful to the resource, the current model (no "advertising" of the site by the park service and basically open access to those who know about it, or to advertise it and allow limited access. Given the damage to the Aztec Butte graineries a couple of years ago, I just don't know which plan is the right plan.   
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Josh Trefethen
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« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2013, 01:37:31 AM »
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Regarding False Kiva,  I hiked it a few weeks ago in the snow.  I didn't find it hard, but did wear extra traction and used hiking poles.  I don't think it is too difficult, and I am by no means in tip top shape, but it all depends on your experience and capabilities.  It's definitely worth the venture. In the winter, the snow and ice can make it slick, but due to the cold and conditions, I also had it to myself for a few hours which was marvelous.
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Slim
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 11:58:37 PM »
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Really like these photos.  Did you use any external filters with these photos to get the interior cave well exposed as well?
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Roman Racela
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« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 02:06:44 AM »
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Thank you Slim. No external filters used on either photo. For False Kiva, I spot metered the clouds then +2 stops then double processed in PS CS6. Nothing special done to Mesa Arch pic, but I kinda wished I took more time in taking my photo. I wanted the bottom part of the arch to glow a bit more, but I didn't want to hog taking pics when there were a bunch of photogs just waiting for me to get done. lol

Really like these photos.  Did you use any external filters with these photos to get the interior cave well exposed as well?
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