Day 8: A morning at Colorado National Monument

Independence Monument seen from the Grand View in Colorado National Monument.

Independence Monument seen from the Grand View in Colorado National Monument.

We were spurred to leave the hotel in Grand Junction extra early because Mum spied a very large black spider making the rounds in the room, and generally terrorizing her and Trixie. This was just as well, since it got us out well ahead of the idiots who think they own the roads. After some thinking on the matter, Mum decided we could brave the heights of Colorado National Monument again.

By dawn’s early light, the vistas are sharper, clearer and in those early hours, cooler and far less windy. We drove in through the western entrance and avoid the worst parts of the roads, retracing our steps to the Grand Overlook, a truly grand view out on an isolated peninsula of rock that even makes me feel queasy – but the rewards of such good photos was too much to resist.

Here, the stone is shades of white and red, layered from millions of years accumulation of sediments. Some is harder than others, and it makes caps, ridges and other weird formations to gaze at across the twisting canyons and gulches. Far below in the morning light, the wide valley and the twisting Colorado River is easier to make out.

After taking in these views, we stop at the Visitor’s Center, and peruse the place – there is another splendid view out the back, and a brief interpretive section. Then we descend from those dizzying heights and resume our trek westward.


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