This week’s hike took us to western Colorado to hike the magnificent Colorado National Monument. The monument’s plateau rises over 2,000 feet above the Grand Valley of the Colorado River. The 32 square mile monument is part of the Colorado Plateau, which also includes the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Arches National Park.
The monument was first a dream of John Otto. Otto lived in the desolate area near the monument in 1907. He relentlessly promoted the land to become a national park. He convinced the town folks of Grand Junction to petition congress and in 1911, the Colorado National Monument was established. Otto started on the roads into the area, but much of the heavy lifting on the road within the monument was conducted by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. When you drive up to the top, along the plateau and back down you will be forever thankful for these men and all they did for a $1 per day salary.
This photograph shows the Monument Canyon Trail as it switchbacks down 600 steep feet from the plateau to the canyon below. The trail is a total of six miles in length. Our goal was to hike down to the four mile mark and back, for a total of 8 miles.
This is the two mile point, where we met a parks ranger. He advised of some pending storms which could result in flash flooding on the canyon floor. The trail crossed several semi-dry river beds, which had flowed heavily when a morning storm hit earlier in the day. We made the decision to turn back as we saw the large thunderheads beginning to form. The rain hit as we were climbing the steepest portion of the trail. Later in the afternoon, flash floods hit he canyon floor. Good decision.