Hello to an old friend at Colorado National Monument

28 Aug
2012
Posted in: Colorado, Parks
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I’d made my peace with saying goodbye to the desert at Dinosaur National Monument. Then we made a last minute swing through Colorado National Monument and my composure was shaken; my closure was ruined.

You know how it is: you’re moving out of town and leaving behind a good group of friends — that last night, you have a big party, have a great time, a bunch of fond farewells, and you go home feeling like you’re ready to move on. Then, the next morning, your friends show up to help you load the last few boxes on the truck and it’s just…awkward. You can’t start any new conversations — you can’t say anything better than it was said the night before. You’re just left smiling awkwardly at one another, realizing how much you’re going to miss these people. I guess I’m cornily trying to say that I love the desert like a friend. I want to carry it around with me, just like I wish I could keep the people I love all in one place.

But back to the monument. Months ago, we’d heard from a fellow camper that Colorado National Monument, close to Grand Junction, CO, was not to be missed. I didn’t know what to expect — I had no idea that the southern Utah desert environment that I love so much stretches into Colorado. Here we were again amid the same rock formations that can be found in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. And we were enjoying it with just a fraction of the people — a very small fraction. If you have time to spend in the monument, there are lots of interesting hikes that run along the rim and through the canyon bottoms. We were back on a strict schedule, so we had to breeze through. I can’t wait to go back and experience the monument at a slower pace.

The drive through the monument is incredible.

The drive through the monument is incredible.

I'd be happy to be the monument's FedEx driver.

I’d be happy to be the monument’s FedEx driver.

People actually climb to the top of this spire. Other people.

People actually climb to the top of this spire. Other people.

Me taking a pic beyond the railing. [pdo]

Me taking a pic beyond the railing. [pdo]

Gorgeous formations.

Gorgeous formations.

If you lean over the edge, you can spot caves in the sandstone layer. [pdo]

If you lean over the edge, you can spot caves in the sandstone layer. [pdo]

Just another gorgeous view.

Just another gorgeous view.

A look down at the wash bottom.

A look down at the wash bottom.