The area around Grand Junction is green due to the many orchards (mostly peaches), and while driving up to the Rim Rock Drive, the scenery changes from green to beige to red. Then, at the first turnout there is the first wonderful view of the edge of the desert.
When planning this road trip, my friend asked if it would be an issue for me to return to an area I had visited just over a year ago. I assured her that although I would be visiting some of the same places, there were also places I had never been to and some I hadn’t visited in many years. Colorado National Monument was one of the new places I was eagerly looking forward to.
The sun was already high in the sky and it was difficult to capture the beautiful reds and oranges I so love in the desert. There is something special about standing at the rim of a vast landscape, so aptly named Monument Canyon.
And there was that moment we stood under the midday sun in the parking lot next to the visitor center eating peaches as the juice dripped down our wrists.
Incidentally, we were at Colorado Monument on the 103rd birthday of the National Park Service. At the pay station the ranger told us entry was free that day but we didn’t find out why until we walked towards the visitor center and there was a Happy Birthday sign. Inside, a man from the news was interviewing people and asking them what they loved about the National Park Service. My answer, followed by a wink, would have been the National Park Passport. Joking aside, I love National Parks and my answer would have probably turned into accolade about the first parks I visited, my fond memories and all the exciting things I’ve learned from visiting them.