Mitten of Stone in a Sea of Dreams
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Arizona's West Mitten Butte "languishes" in a sea of dreams.
Hearndon Michell and Robert Merrick were prospectors. According to legend,
in 1879 the two men were repeatedly warned to keep out of the Monument
Valley area, where Chief Hoskininni had a filthy rich silver mine.
The story has it that they were both shot by irate Utes, the next year,
at their campfire at the butte now called Mitchell. Mitchell was killed
immediately, but Merrick lived to reach another butte three miles away
where he died; Merrick Butte.
The silver mine has never been found.
The Mitten Buttes are the most photographed features in Monument
Valley. They're almost east-west from each other and are about 1-1/4 miles
apart, the Utah-Arizona State line being located approximately 1/2-mile
north of the buttes.
The geologic section is well exposed on Merrick Butte - (ascending) - Organ
Rock, DeChelly, Moenkopi, and Shinarump. Only a small remnant of
Shinarump remains on the East Mitten and none is present on the West Mitten, having eroded away and succumbing to the sands of time.
There is a trail, called the Wildcat, that winds around to the north side
of West Mitten Butte.
If you should ever find yourself on the Wildcat Trail, be advised to
carry plenty of water, and be careful not to trip over any slithering
reptiles, which could possibly cause you to land on your Shina-RUMP.
Butt, take it from me! The view is always well worth the effort !!! !!
April 26, 2009