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Friday October 19th 2018

MacKenna's Gold | 1969

MacKenna's Gold location: Canyon de Chelly, Arizona
MacKenna's Gold location: the spectacular landscape: Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona | Photograph: iStockphoto / Vladone

Strange, epic Western, scripted by legendary producer Carl Foreman, with loads of guest stars attempting to track down the fabled Valley of Gold.

The turkey buzzard, in the opening sequence, flies over the familiar buttes and mesas of Monument Valley, on the Arizona/Utah border, but most of the film's striking desert landscapes are around Glen Canyon, Utah, and the magnificent Canyon de Chelly, Arizona.

Glen Canyon is a canyon that is located in southeastern and south central Utah and northwestern Arizona within the Vermilion Cliffs area. An immense area located north of the Grand Canyon, it too was carved by the Colorado River. Featured ar Kanab Canyon, Paria, Box Canyon, Johnson Canyon, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Glen Canyon Recreation.

The Old Paria Movie Sets are situated in Paria Canyon near the Paria River. It is located 33 miles northeast of Kanab by way of Highway 89, then 5 miles north on a dirt road. Farther north on the same dirt road, accessible by four-wheel drive (or walking), is the original Paria (Pah-re-ah) townsite (Paria means "muddy water" in the Paiute language).

The Old Paria Movie Sets were built for the movie "Sergeants Three". The town site now comprises five buildings. They are full shells and filming can be done in their interiors, but watch out for snakes (I almost stepped on one that was crossing the road). In 2002, a flash flood swept through the town, endangering the buildings, so they were moved 100 feet up from the flood plain. They were reconstructed with new wood and placed on concrete footings. On August 26, 2006, all the buildings were destroyed in a fire, which might have been arson. It is hoped that the sets will be rebuilt once again, possibly much closer to the highway to allow easier public access.

The sheer, red cliffs of Canyon de Chelly are peppered with caves and the ruins of Indian villages. The visitor centre is at Chinle, about three miles from Route 191.

'Shaking Rock', the pillar whose shadow points to the gold, is Spider Rock.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument was established on April 1, 1931 as a unit of the National Park Service. It is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. Reflecting one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, it preserves ruins of the early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo. The monument covers 83,840 acres (131.0 sq mi; 339.3 km2) and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. These canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska mountains just to the east of the monument. None of the land is federally owned. In 2009 Canyon de Chelly National Monument was recognized as one of the most-visited national monuments in the United States.

Canyon de Chelly long served as a home for Navajo people before it was invaded by forces led by future New Mexico governor Lt. Antonio Narbona in 1805. In 1863 Col. Kit Carson sent troops to either end of the canyon to defeat the Navajo population within. The resulting devastation led to the surrender of the Navajos and their removal to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico.

Canyon de Chelly is entirely owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust of the Navajo Nation. It is the only National Park Service unit that is owned and cooperatively managed in this manner. Approximately 40 Navajo families live in the park. Access to the canyon floor is restricted, and visitors are allowed to travel in the canyons only when accompanied by a park ranger or an authorized Navajo guide.

There is a set of ruins that is nearby and outside of the park called 3 Turkeys which was also in Mackenna's Gold.

MacKenna's Gold location: High Force Waterfall, Teesdale, County Durham
MacKenna's Gold location: the river rapids: High Force Waterfall, Teesdale, County Durham | Photograph: Wikimedia / Nehpetsrob

The High Force Waterfall on the River Tees in County Durham is one of the highest waterfalls in England. Some believe it to be the highest but this honour actually goes to the Howgill Fells in Cumbria , which have a total height of 180 metres and an unbroken drop of 30 metres at one point. It is also considered by many to be the most majestic of England’s waterfalls.

Though not as tall as some waterfalls in other parts of the world, the sight of the River Tees suddenly and dramatically dropping almost 70 feet instantaneously over the volcanic rock of the Whin Sill is spectacular indeed. The Whin Sill is a ridge of volcanic rock running east to west across County Durham and Northumberland ; part of this rock formation lies within the Northumberland National Park and part within the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall follows the line of this ridge. High Force Waterfall is considered one of the best places from which to view Whin Sill.

The continuous process of erosion caused by the rocks being drawn along the river bed are causing the falls to recede upstream, leaving an ever growing gorge (currently about 700 metres) in front of the falls.

The fall is just less than five miles from Middleton-on-Teesdale on the B6277 road. Facilities are provided for visitors to the site. There is a small charge for parking and access to the site. There is also a gift shop there, which is open during the summer months. The falls are normally open all year round, although they are sometimes closed to the public in cases of extreme weather. There are toilets on site and accommodation is available nearby at the High Force Hotel and the Langdon Beck Hotel .