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Ringing In A New Decade: Wedding Canyon Loop

First Day Hikes: Colorado National Monument
Wednesday, January 1, 2020

As per our annual New Years Day tradition, Diane and I went to bed well before midnight on New Years Eve so we could get up early for our first hike of 2020 on the Wedding Canyon Loop in the Colorado National Monument. We arrived at the trailhead shortly before sunrise but the sky was pretty much overcast and we would not see any sunlight during our entire hike. When I checked the weather forecast the night before there was a winter storm that was supposed to move into the area later in the day, but it apparently got here early since it started to snow on us just as soon as we entered the mouth of Wedding Canyon and it continued to snow throughout the rest of our hike. We didn’t mind though, since it was fun to hike through the falling snow and I really liked the way the fresh snow clung to the sandstone boulders and canyon walls. It’s always nice to see a familiar landscape in different conditions. We didn’t run into anyone else on the trail until we were on our way back down Monument Canyon where we passed about a half-dozen hikers coming up the canyon. Hiking this loop trail is always a great way to start a new year no matter what the weather does!

The snow started coming down as soon as we entered Wedding Canyon.

Into Wedding Canyon

Wedding Canyon Trail

Wedding Canyon Trail

Hiking In The Snow

Hiking In The Snow

I liked how the snow was clinging to the canyon walls.

Climbing The Trail

Sentinel Spire

Sentinel Spire

Footprints in the snow.

Footprints

Looking Back

We didn’t get a good look at Independence Monument until we were pretty close since the snow was coming down pretty good at this point during the hike.

Independence Monument in a Snowstorm

A view of the Pipe Organ through the snow.

Fading Monuments

The ‘Missing’ Couple

The 'Missing' Couple

There were no other tracks in the snow, so I think we may have been the first visitors to Independence Monument of the year and decade!

Independence

Looking up at The Island from the midpoint of the loop.

The Island

Diane in a Snowstorm

Diane In A Snowstorm

A parting view of Independence Monument as we hiked down Monument Canyon.

Leaving Independence Monument

Following along the edge of The Island.

Along The Island

We couldn’t see too far into Monument Canyon.

Lower Monument Canyon

Diane hikes below a hard-to-see Monument Mesa.

Rocky Trail

Snow on Rock

Snow On Rock

The snow started to lighten up as we descended further into lower Monument Canyon.

Below Monument Mesa

Monument Canyon Trail

Monument Canyon Trail

Diane was hoping to see some bighorn sheep on this hike, and she spotted this group just before we left Monument Canyon and headed back to the trailhead.

Bighorn Sheep in Snow

>> Wedding Canyon Loop 2020 Photo Gallery

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