The answer, since it’s already the end of the 25th, is, “probably not.”
The majority of this post will feature the Colorado National Monument, so read on, but first: for those of you who have seen my Facebook cover photo, that’s from a box of flotsam found in my grandmother’s house as my relatives in Indiana have been tirelessly working to empty it out. I’m going to try to post the entire photo here, since I was disappointed in one of my top five favorite social media sites’ cropping job.
Well, that looks like it may be slightly better. My favorite treasure was a photo book copyright 2009 that I gave to my Pappaw for Christmas. It contains photos from Las Vegas, Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park, the Grand Canyon North Rim, Bryce Canyon, Zion NP, Sutter Creek, Sedona, and Yellowstone.
In other news, it was a good week at work this week. Here’s a photo of some crops a student brought in to share, as proof.
None of that is the reason we’re here, however.
You know if you follow my Twitter feed, which you should, that yesterday was National Public Lands Day. That means that as I passed the sign and approached the payment booth, the ranger waved me through without requiring me to stop.
This sign is 15 minutes from my apartment. I didn’t want to enter this way – I wanted to enter at the west end and drive back toward Grand Junction. The GPS had other plans, however, and the park spat out my Subaru in Fruita. It took 25 minutes to get back home via CO 340.
As you can see, it was a rare cloudy day, which made it a perfect 50 degrees. Driving on the Monument (as the Colorado National Monument is locally known, haha) was terrifying, but not so terrifying that I won’t go back. Chipmunks darted across the road every few feet and red-tailed hawks crisscrossed the sky as I navigated the 15 mph switchbacks with an eye toward not driving off the edge of a sheer cliff.
My first stop was Cold Shivers Point.
I arrived at Cold Shivers Point with only one older couple and a bicyclist (there were many, many bicycles on the Monument rim drive), and I hightailed it out of there when a crowd bore down on the spot from which I took the bottom photo. I was able to stay just ahead of the fray for the majority of the day.
The next place I stopped was Highland View. The photo doesn’t look very spectacular, but I have a whole photo series of fantastic blackened trees that I took from the trail.
Next up was my favorite stop, Artists Point. You can see that the sky was brightening by then.
After Artists Point, I promised the car that we would hop heigh-ho to the Visitor’s Center and then home, but the Independence Monument viewpoint wasn’t crowded, so I stopped there, too. That’s Independence Monument off to the right.
I finally made it to the Visitor’s Center, where I claimed my cancellation stamps and stashed them inside the cover of Best Easy Day Hikes Grand Junction and Fruita, which I bought for myself before buying a book for someone’s birthday next spring because I should have time to read it before then. In addition, six loyal readers can expect their custom Holiday Postcard this year to be from the Monument bookstore. What I would have invested in admission got upcycled to reading material, and I need that book, because that’s how I like my hikes: easy.
I was on my way down and down towards Fruita when I noticed this sign and pulled over for a closer look.
What? Really? What’s that arrow? O. I. C.
Balanced, indeed. It reminded me of my days as a server at House of Pizza.
The western entrance of the park was in sight when suddenly, this happened.
I’m a fan of the bighorn sheep, and I have rarely seen them. These appear to be females.
Our encounter was a fitting end to a delightful little jaunt.
There was more. Much, much more, so this will not be my last post from Colorado National Monument. I look forward to extensively exploring this place, especially now that I know exactly how to get to the west entrance and how little time it takes.
The title of this post indicates that although I am still without a futon frame, a dining set, and a TV, I am ready to receive guests. Please provide 25 hours of warning before visiting, so that I will have time to pick up the clutter, toss it into a box, and toss the box into a closet before you arrive. I sincerely appreciate it.
This post’s closing questions:
What is your favorite animal, and when is the last time that you’ve seen one?
What is the scariest road that you have ever driven? Have you driven it more than once?
Thanks for reading.
P.S. I just noticed after catching up on my Reader material that this post works well for the Quest challenge. #Quest