This blog will be 90% photos of red rock formations and canyons.
We awoke in Grand Junction to a smoke haze from the wildfires in Steamboat Springs, CO and Montana. Our only plan for the day was to visit the Colorado National Monument which is located just a few miles SW of Grand Junction. Rim Rock Drive is 23 miles long and contains 19 view points. We arrived at the monument at about 10:30 and it was close to 4 by the time we left. The road winds around the top of the canyon and its various branches and climbs from 4930′ (1503 m) above sea level at the east entrance to a high point of 6479′ (1975 m) and down to 4690′ (1430 m) at the west entrance.
Once again I will just insert photographs of the placards so I don’t have to write out any of the information. This was quite a cut through the rock. There are three tunnels along the rim road; one near the beginning of the route and two close together near the end. You can sort of see Fruita Valley through the smoke. But the distant hills are pretty blurry.The road was fun for John to drive. There is a hike you can do through the bottom of this canyon. You are advised though not to walk the river channel but stay on the path beside it in case of rain and flash floods. John is off in the distance at the overlook. There is a road that enters the park just after this area and there were geocaches on it; just outside the park boundary. We took a short drive down the road and found three caches before returning to the rim road.
John had to climb this dead tree to get one of the caches and a hummingbird was not happy about it. It kept diving in and out and flying around the top of the tree.
The big arch cut into this cliff face looks like it should be a doorway or window. Wind and water are amazing sculptors. We have seen coke ovens just like the ones in the picture on the sign board a couple of times on our travels. There is a path you can take to the end of the ridge where the coke oven formations begin. You can just make it out as the whitish line in the middle of the photo below. And you can just see a fellow and his son walking on that path. We were driving through a construction area where workers were making low stone guardrails beside the road and up ahead we saw three Big Horn Sheep.The momma and her young one climbed onto the rocks. But this lady just walked atop the rock rail right past our truck. I think someone needs to climb up there and put a face on that little boy wearing his ball cap. I had to take quite a few photos to get clear images of the information on the sign board about Balanced Rock and I am sure they are not in the correct order here. Sorry about that. Apparently we had a special encounter seeing the mountains sheep. And after all those stops we arrived at the west entrance to the monument and drove some back roads back to Grand Junction and our hotel where we spent an hour doing photos before finding our dinner and settling back at the hotel for the night. I love red rocks!