Monday, July 25, 2016

Colorado National Monument

Near Grand Junction, Colorado lies Colorado National Monument.  It is a national park and is operated by the National Park Service.  I drove through the park the other day and I'm very glad I did.  The landscape is stunning.  There are many viewing areas throughout the park with hiking trails and information about what you are seeing.   This area of western Colorado is considered high desert.

This particular rock formation is called monument rock and is a favorite assent for rock climbers.  Every year an American flag flies over monument rock on the Fourth of July.

The rock formations that look like free standing spires were actually part of a solid plateau.  Millions of years of earth activity such as rising seas and erosion have worn down the layers of the weaker rock and the stronger rocks remain as separated spires.  Erosion is still at work, though, and someday (in a few million years) this area may be flattened again.

These rock formations are called the coke ovens.  They are named for their appearance as they look like the cone shaped ovens used for turning coal into coke.  The rim of the canyon is high enough in elevation to support vegetation.  The canyon is very deep and it was somewhat scary to look over the edge of the viewing stand into the sheer drop off.  But, of course I did it.  Of course.

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