October 21, 2016

10/18/16 - Colorado NM, Revisted

Been there, done that...well, yes, we have visited Colorado National Monument before.  But it's been four years...it was a really pretty place and after spending a week doing nothing, I wanted to go anywhere! George still wasn't feeling great, so we did one hike at a verrrry leisurely pace, then just hit the viewpoints to make sure nothing had changed.

Balanced Rock was still doing its balancing act.
I still couldn't figure out where the Historic Trail was--although I'm pretty sure they could have made this cattle drive without me!  Hard to believe this was the easiest way to get down off the mesa!
The view of Fruita Canyon, with the road we drove in on, and the town of Fruita across the Colorado River, was still impressive.
Saddleback Visitor Center was still there...but this time I paid a little more attention to all the parks on the Colorado Plateau.  Look at that!  We've been to all the parks around here, except for Black Canyon and Mesa Verde--and they're on the itinerary for this month!
Even though we'd done it before, I talked George into walking part of the Canyon Rim Trail that starts behind the Visitor Center. Sometimes you're really close to the rim and sometimes not.
...We walked on to see the giant rock formations in Monument Canyon.  I remember most of them.
....Then it was just a little further to the bookshelf observatory.  The official name on the National Register of Historic Places plaque is "Bookcliff Shelter", but I like "Bookshelf" better.  After all, it's facing the Grand Valley below, and in the distance beyond is a mountain range called "Bookcliffs". 
...Of course I wanted to go just a little bit more to Window Rock.
...After that we had to walk back to the truck, which we did on the road instead of the rim trail so I could be nice to George.  That's Saddlehorn on the left; the Visitor Center is just to the left of that.
From then on it was stops at viewpoints.  The first one was Independence Monument, which is 450 feet high, and the largest free-standing rock formation in the park.  Someone climbs that thing on the 4th of July and plants an American flag there.  Not volunteering for that duty!
I'll agree that the view from Grand View overlook is pretty grand, but I really like Monument Canyon!
The Coke Ovens were pretty much in shadow, so I took a picture in the other direction.  You can see some of the trails down below.  Next time we come, I want to do that! Wait'll I tell George that...
Artist's Palette is called that because of the variety of colors in the canyon.  Looks like pastels were the choice of the Artist of the Day.
At the viewpoint for Upper Ute Canyon, there's a slew of potholes in the sandstone at the top.  When it rains, microscopic animals hatch.  Here I liked the top better than the shadowed canyon down below.
At Fallen Rock, you can see where the rock landed, just at the base of the cliff.  Apparently it separated at it's base rather than from the top, so it just slid down the edge to land right side up. If a rock this size falls, and no one is around to hear it, does it still crash?
Red Canyon has dramatic layers of rock and striped walls in those bright colors I like so much.
Not sure how it got its name, but Cold Shivers Point overlooking Columbus Canyon is a lot different than the rest of the canyons.  
Then it was through the 3rd tunnel, down the big hill and home.  George was tired.

Click for more pictures:  Colorado Natl Monument 

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