Monday, August 11, 2008

Colorado 2008: Wild Canyons

This week I will be posting pictures from our summer vacation in Colorado. Sewing-related posts will begin again next week.
We spent the first few days of our vacation exploring the landscapes around Grand Junction and Gunnison, Colorado.
Our first hike was the six-mile "Monument Trail" across the canyon floor in Colorado National Monument. Here is an overview shot and a shot from the trail of "Independence Monument":

John Otto, the "father" of the Colorado National Monument, installed a series of lead pipes into this particular monument to serve as a ladder. Each year on the Fourth of July, he would climb to the top of the monument and fly an American flag.
We also hiked into the neighboring Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness along the 5.5 mile Rattlesnake Arches Trail to see seven naturally formed arches. Here are two of them:

Finally, we drove the South Rim road in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. My husband is in both pictures - can you find him in the first one?

According to the park literature, geologist Wallace Hansen said, "Some are longer, some are deeper, some are narrower, and a few have walls as steep. But no other canyon in North America combines the depth, narrowness, sheerness and somber countenance of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison."

I was interested to learn that the color variation in the rocks is explained by molten rock being pushed up into cracks from the earth's core - not simply layers of different types of sediment accumulating over thousands of years, as often appears to be the case.