September 4, 2012

9/2/12 - Colorado NM

Colorado National Monument is just outside Grand Junction, CO.  I really didn't know what to expect until we got there. 

Rim Rock Drive climbs about 2000' feet from the Colorado River valley to a plateau and then winds around the rim of several different canyons. 

It's a twisty, windy road but not scary.  (I wasn't driving; if George was scared, he hid it well.) 

There are 3-1/2 tunnels on the drive.  Sorry, I didn't read the sign so I can't tell you about the half tunnel. 
There are lots of canyons and red rocks and monoliths--cool stuff!  We hiked the Canyon Rim Trail from the Visitors Center, and then on to the Window Rock Trail.  
Down below in Wedding Canyon are spectacular monoliths.  These are Independence Monument, Praying Hands and Pipe Organ.  The other one is Kissing Couple.
The view back towards Grand Junction is a study in contrasts.  Everything around us was hard rock and desert.  Down in the valley, we could see the Colorado River and lots of green farmland.  (I know it's farmland because we drove past a lot of corn and alfalfa yesterday.)

I seem to have (mostly) gotten over my acrophobia.  I still keep a healthy distance between me and the edge unless there's a guardrail.  Good thing because the views down into the canyons are amazing.  I heard someone compare it to the Grand Canyon...well, I don't think so--although it is a lot more accessible.
We stopped at every overlook and viewpoint where there we could park. I figured we'd drive the whole 23 miles of the road and then stop at the few we missed when we reversed the journey....but then it started raining.
We drove right past Cold Shivers Point because by that time the 30% chance of rain was a downpour.  "Shivers" would have been the right word if we'd stopped! 

There are more pictures here:  Colorado National Monument