Picture Pages – Volume Colorado National Monument (with notes on New Mexico)

Two weeks in Tulsa flew by and we found ourselves blinking in amazement the morning after one of our longest driving days — made longer by the addition of a four-hour breakdown delay — at high desert. We were back WEST!! There were things we wanted to see in Albuquerque, but we were behind schedule and so decided after breakfast to take the short drive to Santa Fe, where we had a room booked for two days. The bluebird skies, shades of adobe adorned with bright aqua and red doors, and remnants of a recent snow were all as much a feast for the eyes as the distinctive southwestern flavors were for the taste buds. But we were more inclined to soak it in and enjoy some slower ambling than we were to document it photographically (well, except this little bit). Suffice it to say that New Mexico looks alternately like a vintage photograph or a vivid painting of itself depending on the light and the tourist dollars. Not to be flippant. It is one of the few states we have seen that actually embodies its state motto: Land of Enchantment. We were indeed enchanted when we took the scenic route (somewhat by accident) west and north of Taos on our way to Colorado Springs, CO for another two day stopover. This area is definitely on our “come back and spend more time” list. Speaking of that list, Colorado Springs was designated as a business only stop. But we learned of a few points of interest while there that may need revisiting in the future as well.

Weather was on our side as we crossed the Rockies (oohing and ahhing all the way) for the last time on this trip. We made Grand Junction, CO in just enough time to climb a windy road to the Colorado National Monument and make ourselves at home in a mostly deserted campground at nightfall. This was our first time sleeping in Charley since Delaware and camping since the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. And the weather was cooler by far. But we layered up and had the advantage of a little propane heater we picked up during our last farming assignment in Maine. And a little bit of discomfort and inconvenience was all worth it when we laid eyes on our surroundings the following morning.

Valley View

Starting our way down the Monument Canyon trail.

Hiker Registration

Lance signing the trail register on the Monument Canyon trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snag Sun

Snagging Some Sun

Snag Sky

Snagging Some Sky

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kissing Couple

Kissing Couple

Independence Monument

Independence Monument

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monument Canyon

Monument Canyon from the foot of Independence Monument. Looking back over the 3.5 or so miles we had hiked from the top and across the floor.

Prickly Pear

A fruiting prickly pear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bighorn

Bighorn on the shady side…

Stately She Sheep

…And on the sunny side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coke Ovens Back Side

The back side of the Coke Ovens and the overlook of the canyon we hiked the previous day.

 

Grand View Overlook

The Grand View overlook. You can see the Colorado River and the town of Fruita, CO in the distance.

 

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