Colorado National Monument

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Colorado National Monument (locally referred to as The Monument) is a National Park Service unit near the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone, and even granite–gneiss–schist, rock formations.

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When John Otto first saw the rugged red rock canyons south of Grand Junction in 1906, it was love at first sight. The following year he wrote . . .

“I came here last year and found these canyons, and they feel like the heart of the world to me. I’m going to stay and build trails and promote this place, because it should be a national park.”

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The area was established as Colorado National Monument on May 24, 1911. Otto was hired as the first park ranger, drawing a salary of $1 per month. For the next 16 years, he continued building and maintaining trails while living in a tent in the park.

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Otto spearheaded fundraising campaigns, collected signatures for petitions, and penned newspaper editorials and endless letters to Washington politicians in support of national recognition for the ancient canyons and towering monoliths of his adopted home.

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This is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests on the plateau.

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There are magnificent views from trails and the Rim Rock Drive, which winds along the plateau.

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Nearby are the Book Cliffs and the largest flat-topped mountain in the world, the Grand Mesa.

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The park became more well known in the 1980s partly due to its inclusion as a stage of the major international bicycle race, the Coors Classic. The race through the park became known as “The Tour of the Moon”, due to the spectacular landscapes the race passed through on Rim Rock Drive.

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Just another day at the office!

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Telluride, Colorado: Part 2

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“Well, we have this place in Telluride, Colorado. It’s somewhere I can just get away and relax and think.”

Joe Cocker

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“There is no such sense of solitude as that which we experience upon the silent and vast elevations of great mountains. Lifted high above the level of human sounds and habitations, among the wild expanses and colossal features of Nature, we are thrilled in our loneliness with a strange fear and elation – an ascent above the reach of life’s expectations or companionship, and the tremblings of a wild and undefined misgivings.”

― Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

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“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”

― John Muir

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“I’d never really experienced the West before moving to Colorado. The East Coast, where I grew up, has a lot of big cities, like Boston and New York, and is more densely populated, and I instantly fell in love with the big open spaces of the West, where you can see not just for a few miles but for a few hundred miles.”

Tyler Hamilton

“We lived in Colorado, and my parents were outdoorsy mountain people. My father would always say, ‘Go out and don’t come back until you have something to show me.’ Which meant he wanted me to come back with a scraped knee or an injury. When I went out to play, I felt like I’d better get hurt. “

Jessica Biel

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Colorado and Wyoming are America’s highest states, averaging 6,800 feet and 6,700 feet above sea level. Utah comes in third at 6,100 feet, New Mexico, Nevada, and Idaho each break 5,000 feet, and the rest of the field is hardly worth mentioning. At 3,400 feet, Montana is only half as high as Colorado, and Alaska, despite having the highest peaks, is even further down the list at 1,900 feet. Colorado has more fourteeners than all the other U.S. states combined, and more than all of Canada too. Colorado’s lowest point (3,315 feet along the Kansas border) is higher than the highest point in twenty other states.

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“I love Colorado. The mountains are so passionate. They just make me want to run to the top and yell obscene things to the valleys below.” ~ Ardith”

Author: Jocelyn Davies

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“I just love all this,’ Walt says. ‘The sights, the smells, making the effort and pushing yourself and getting something that’s really hard to get. I’ll fly on a plane and people will look out the window at thirty thousand feet and say, ‘Isn’t this view good enough for you?’ And I say no, it’s not good enough. I didn’t earn it. In the mountains, I earn it.”

― Mark Obmascik, Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled–and Knuckleheaded–Quest for the Rocky Mountain High

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“We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.”

― John Muir

Telluride, Colorado: Part 1

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Telluride is located in a box canyon at an elevation of 8,750 feet in an isolated spot in Southwest Colorado. Steep forested mountains and cliffs, some with elevations reaching over 13,000 feet, surround it on all sides.The town is a former silver mining camp on the San Miguel River in the western San Juan Mountains. In1889, Butch Cassidy, before becoming associated with the Hole-in-the Wall-Gang, robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride. This was his first major recorded crime. Today, Telluride is known for being home to one of the greatest ski resorts in North America, in addition to hosting a variety of popular festivals including the Telluride Film Festival, Bluegrass Festival, and Mushroom Festival. I love the place because of its unparalleled ambiance, and the awesome mountain scenery and the opportunity it provides for photography and outdoor recreation.

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As a career ski bum who’s lived in Telluride for 25 years without a trust fund, my resume is lengthy and diverse. Along with the usual retail and restaurant jobs, I’ve taught at the high school, worked in festival production, guided peak ascents, coached young athletes and served on town council. It may appear that I have a touch of occupational ADD, but I tend to downplay the one common thread in my working life. It isn’t glamorous—and I’m certainly squandering an expensive college education—but the truth is, I keep body and soul together by painting Telluride’s multi-colored Victorian houses.

-Lance Waring – Telluride Ski Bum

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In the late 1960s, I ended up in Telluride, Colorado. It wasn’t like the country club that it is now. It was very raw.

Lance Henriksen

The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.

Joseph Wood Krutch

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A crystal clear Colorado sky opens above us, a blue so deep it makes you dizzy. The occasional bright white wispy cloud dances across the firmament, punctuating the deep blue vault of heaven stretching over this paradise.”

― Neil M Hanson, Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America

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Colorado is an oasis, an otherworldly mountain place.

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The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?

– J. B. Priestley

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