Abstract Musings

Documenting the random thoughts of a cluttered mind

Day 6 — Colorado National Monument, May 2005

In May 2005, Rachelle and I took a vacation to Colorado. After our slight detour into Utah to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, we returned to Colorado and drove the scenic Rim Rock Drive through Colorado National Monument.

Colorado National Monument

Park Sign
The park sign welcomed us as we entered Colorado National Monument.

Colorado National Monument lies along the edge of the Uncompahgre Uplift above the Grand Valley of the Colorado River. This region is part of the greater Colorado Plateau, a vast area of scenic wonders that covers 130,000 square miles in southeastern Utah, northern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and western Colorado. Other National Parks found on the Colorado Plateau include Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde and Grand Canyon.

Balanced Rock
This formation is called Balanced Rock.

Balanced Rock
This was the third formation we saw during our trip with the name Balanced Rock, and the second one that day.

Independence Monument
Independence Monument is one of the park’s most well known formations.

Independence Monument
While we were taking in the view, another visitor was talking on his cell phone to his son who had just climbed to the top of Independence Monument.

They Look Like Ants
Then, we drove to Grand View to see the backside of Independence Monument.

Intrepid Souls
Here’s a photo of the climbers atop Independence Monument.

Masters of All They Survey
One last look at Independence Monument.

Coke Ovens
Next, we stopped at Coke Ovens Overlook.

Coke Ovens
These massive white sandstone formations were named for their similarity to the kilns used to convert charcoal into industrial coke, which is used to smelt iron ore.

Fallen Rock
At Fallen Rock Overlook we saw the enormous section of canyon wall which fell to the canyon floor.

Red Canyon
Our last stop was Red Canyon Overlook. From this vantage point we could see down the length of Red Canyon. The canyon has two distinct features: the U-shaped canyon with its sheer cliff walls, and the smaller, slender V-shaped depression in the center of the canyon floor. The rock of the cliffs is softer and has eroded faster; but the hard rock of the canyon floor has proved more resistant.

After a busy day of sightseeing, we headed east towards Denver. We planned to spend the next couple of days at Rocky Mountain National Park before heading home.