Day 7: Colorado National Monument Part 2

The "Coke Oven" formation in Colorado National Monument

The “Coke Oven” formation in Colorado National Monument

The wind was fierce on most outlooks – where it wasn’t, the local version of no-see-ums swarmed about, detracting from the views of these sheer cliffs, shaped by water and wind. Curious niches can be seen along the walls, their origins a mystery, amidst the layers of multihued red stone that stand like a silent city.

We arrived at the westerly end of the park in about an hour, a mere five minutes after the visitor’s center closed for the day. Such is life, and the businesslike quality of the ranger. A huffy woman, obviously a native Coloradoan claims she heard it was open until 6:30. Not what I had heard, and the ranger refuses to be bullied into doing otherwise.

We descend out of the park, and took a scenic drive through the neighborhood, where dusty mounds of grey-white rubble sit next to collections of homes that look bravely out onto this desolate landscape. These are all new buildings, and whether to local water supply can sustain this community over the long term remains to be seen.

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