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The Face of The Monument

Colorado National Monument Traverse VI | Grand Junction to Fruita
Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #4

Sunday, March 10, 2019

After a couple weekends off from adventures because of wet weather and travelling for concerts, it was finally time to get back outside! Although the weather forecast for this weekend wasn’t looking the best, it was certainly looking better than it had over the past couple of weeks, so I planned for us to do our sixth annual Colorado National Monument Traverse on Sunday. This year we were planning to do a repeat of our very first traverse across the face of the Monument that we did back in 2014, except this time we would be hiking it in the opposite direction from the East Entrance near Grand Junction to the West Entrance near Fruita. Since it had been over five years since the last time we hiked this entire route, we were looking forward to it!

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Another Birthday in Capitol Reef

Saturday & Sunday, February 9-10, 2019

I don’t spend as much time in Capitol Reef National Park as I would like, but for some reason it seems like I frequently end up here around my birthday in February. Two years ago Diane and I spent the weekend closest to my birthday in Capitol Reef (I did that in 2010, too), and I decided earlier this year that I wanted to go back and do it again! We left home early on Saturday morning and spent the rest of the weekend hiking trails around the Fruita Historic District that are typically pretty busy during the rest of the year and we saw almost no one else all weekend. We found some new rock art and took plenty of photos along the way.

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Kodels Canyon

Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #3
Sunday, January 13, 2019

After spending Saturday exploring the San Rafael Reef by myself, Diane and I went on a short hike at the western edge of the Colorado National Monument on Sunday afternoon into Kodels Canyon. It has been a few years since I last hiked into Kodels Canyon and Diane had never been here before, so we were looking forward to checking it out. Our hike started on the well-used and snow-packed trails of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, but as soon as we entered the Monument there had not been as much traffic and we were breaking trail through the snow in some places.

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Snow Day at The Monument

Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #2
Sunday, January 6, 2019

This weekend Diane and I stayed home and took it easy, but we did take some time on Sunday afternoon to visit the west side of the Colorado National Monument for a couple of hours during a snowstorm. We drove a snow-packed Rim Rock Drive to its closure gate at the Independence Monument Viewpoint and stopped to take a few photos along the way. We only saw a handful of other vehicles up there braving the winter road conditions. I was hoping to hike a few of the shorter trails along the rim of Wedding Canyon near the Visitor Center in the snow, but once we got up into the Monument we found that the clouds were low and there was no view into the canyons. I didn’t want to hike those trails with no views, so we decided to skip them and only hiked the Alcove Nature Trail this time. I think the last time I hiked this short trail was almost ten years ago, so it was nice to finally revisit it.

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Wedding Canyon Loop 2019

Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #1
New Year’s Day | Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! This year Diane and I woke up early on New Year’s Day and headed over to the Colorado National Monument so we could hike the Wedding Canyon Loop at sunrise like we do almost every year. We arrived shortly before sunrise and were the first vehicle at the Monument Canyon Trailhead. When we started hiking the temperature out was in the single digits and the early morning dawn light was just beginning to illuminate the landscape. There was fresh snow on the trail from a big snowstorm the previous day, but there wasn’t quite as much snow on the ground here as there was at our house. We watched the clouds change color as we made our way to the mouth of Wedding Canyon and then hiked up the canyon to Independence Monument, which is the halfway point of the loop. From there we followed the lower Monument Canyon Trail back down to the trailhead making a complete loop around The Island. As usual, it was a great way to start the new year, even though it was cold out!

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