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Circling The Island

New Year’s Day | Sunday, January 1, 2017
Wedding Canyon Loop 2017

On New Year’s Day Diane and I were up before sunrise to go on our first hike of 2017 in the Colorado National Monument. As usual, we returned to the Wedding Canyon Loop which makes a complete loop around The Island. We went to bed early on New Year’s Eve so we would have no problems getting up for the hike, although we were awoken by fireworks at midnight, and made it to the Monument Canyon Trailhead just before sunrise. We typically hike this loop in a counter-clockwise direction because I prefer to climb the steeper trail in Wedding Canyon and then descend the more gradual trail in Monument Canyon. There was plenty of snow and ice on the trail in Wedding Canyon, but we never had to put on our microspikes this time. As we ascended Wedding Canyon we were treated to a very nice sunrise, but as soon as we reached Independence Monument at the middle of the loop more clouds moved in and blocked the sun for the remainder of the hike back down. We completed the five mile loop in just over two hours and were off the trail before the ground could thaw out and turn into mud.

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Colorado National Monument Photos

Thursday, September 22, 2016

After work I grabbed my hiking gear and started heading out to Rabbit Valley so I could hike to another summit in Mesa County, but as I was driving west on I-70 I noticed the sky was much cloudier and darker out that direction and I was concerned about the weather I would encounter. It appeared that the edge of the storm system moving through the area was over Fruita and Grand Junction and it looked like I’d have better luck closer to town this evening. So when I reached the Fruita exit I decided to get off and head up into the Colorado National Monument instead. The clouds and sky were nice for a few photos during my drive through the western portion of the park, plus I still got a little hiking and exploring in. Here’s a few photos from the evening.

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Independence Monument

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Since I haven’t been able to get out hiking in couple of weeks (plus the temperature was only in the low 90’s, which is slightly cooler than it’s been the last few days), I decided to head out after work for an evening hike in the Colorado National Monument. It’s been a little while since the last time I was in Monument Canyon, so I hiked up that trail to Independence Monument and then explored the upper reaches of Wedding Canyon for a different view of Independence Monument before returning the way I had come. The parking lot at the trailhead was completely empty when I arrived and I would only pass one trail runner shortly before sunset. I had the entire canyon to myself for a few hours which was nice. Enjoy a few photos from the evening!

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Return to the Monument

Monday, May 9, 2016

It’s been a while since the last time I took a drive through the Colorado National Monument and it’s also been a while since I’ve gone out specifically to take photos around sunrise or sunset. After all the rain we’ve been having in the Grand Valley lately, it looked like the storms were finally clearing out this evening so I decided to take a drive on Rim Rock Drive in the west section of the park this evening and stopped at a few of the viewpoints along the way to take a couple of photos.

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Colorado National Monument Western Loop

Colorado National Monument Traverse III
Sunday, March 20, 2016

After our overnight hike along the Black Ridge Loop in the Colorado National Monument last year Diane had mentioned to me that she enjoyed the hike up the Fruita Dugway and wanted to hike it again, so this year I planned a different loop that included the Fruita Dugway, Black Ridge Trail, CCC Trail and then returned down Monument Canyon. It would make a nice 13.5 mile loop on the western side of the Monument. We dropped my Jeep off at the Lower Monument Canyon Trailhead shortly before sunrise and then drove over to the Fruita Dugway Trailhead and started climbing the trail as the sun was coming up for the day. The Fruita Dugway is probably one of my favorite and often overlooked trails in the Colorado National Monument.

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