Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Colorado National Monument

Two years ago when I first visited Moab with my family, we'd never heard of Colorado National Monument so didn't allocate any time to stop and see it. Last weekend I was able to rectify that oversight.

Colorado National Monument - Red Canyon Overlook
Our plan of attack was to simply travel the length of Rim Rock Drive -- roughly 23 miles -- stopping at the overlooks along the way.  No hikes; just picture stops like this one at Red Canyon Overlook.

Conditions were generally overcast with occasional brief breaks in the clouds.  Interesting patterns in the rocks were somewhat muted as a result, but still captivating.

Colorado National Monument - Squaw Fingers
The Squaw Fingers formation as seen from Artists Point.

Colorado National Monument - Coke Ovens
One of those fleeting moments of sunshine helped light up the Coke Ovens.

Colorado National Monument - Kissing Couple
Another brief visit from the sun while at the Monument Canyon View overlook helped light up the Kissing Couples formation.

Colorado National Monument - Grand View
Grand View was just that.

Colorado National Monument - Independence Monument View
A small snow squall added some drama to the Independence Monument View.  The namesake feature is to the right.

Bighorn sheep yearling
We came upon a small flock of bighorn sheep feeding by the side of the road, including two month-old lambs.  They skittered up the rocks and out of sight, with one yearling pausing momentarily to regard us with curiosity.

Colorado National Monument - Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock bade us farewell.

We'd unexpectedly spent four hours in the monument.  But since we'd left Denver the previous afternoon to avoid an incoming snowstorm and spent the night in Glenwood Springs, we had the extra time in the schedule.  I love it when a plan comes together!