My friend Simon lived in the middle of nowhere.
It was kind of amazing. This area on the Western Slope of Colorado was so quiet. The roads were empty as I drove to his house. I had to call him to actually find where he lived. I had to avoid the wild turkeys that were crossing the road.
Wild Turkeys? Seriously? Where the heck was I?
Montrose, Colorado. That’s where. To be fair, the few wild turkeys in Colorado was much less crazy than the thousands of sheep that engulfed the road in Utah. This had been a long day.
As usual, it felt great to arrive and get out of the car. And despite my delays, I had managed to make it shortly before sunset! Simon’s home was beautiful. He and his wife Priscilla had some friends over and they were grilling food, enjoying the beautiful autumn weather. Simon gave me a tour of his awesome house and we all hung out drinking beers and eating food and relaxing. I watched the sun set over the mountains and spent a lot of time rambling about how beautiful it was here. I had known Simon and Priscilla for years, but they had never mentioned to me how awesome their home was.
I enjoyed spending the weekend with them. I had been on my own much of this trip, but I had never once felt lonely. In fact, I would say this was one of the least lonely I had ever felt. I was meeting people easily wherever I went. And I was really loving the solo time to better get to know myself and figure out what I wanted from my life. That being said, it was awesome to spend a few days with friends again after being on my own for so long. We took a tour of a nearby town and went on a fun hike. The weather was in the 60’s and the entire western slope was ablaze with the colors of Autumn. I had never made it to the western side of the Rockies before, and was really amazed at how beautiful this part of Colorado was. It was a lot less crowded and a lot more peaceful.
After a fun weekend with awesome friends, it was time to resume my journey. I was ready to check out my second Colorado National Park. Fortunately, Black Canyon was very close to where Simon and Priscilla lived. It ended up being a pretty quick visit, yet extremely gorgeous. Just another huge canyon that seemed to come out of nowhere. Yet it was extremely deep. Deeper than the empire state building (according to the info signs). Yet unlike the grand canyon, it was very narrow. The result was the the combination of dark rocks, and the deep shadows cause by the narrowness of the divide, made the canyon seem very dark. Maybe this is why it is called Black Canyon?? Or maybe I just made that up. Haha.
There were a lot of neat lookout views for this place, and I enjoyed making my way along and checking it all out. Once again I wondered if there was more to explore in this park. What was at the bottom? Could visitors get down there? How? Was it a hike? Was it a drive? Did people camp down there? If I ever do more time at national parks, I will try to stay longer and find out how much more there is to explore at each one.
After some stellar views of Black Canyon, it was time for my journey to take me back west to Moab. But Simon and Priscilla had recommended that I stop and visit the Colorado National Monument. It was right on the way. I didn’t even know what the Colorado National Monument was. But I trusted their advice. So when I got to Grand Junction, I made a turn towards the monument.
It ended up being… just amazing. It was a long winding road through this mountainous desert area. There were numerous lookout points to stop and take in the incredible beauty of this place. Man I could have spent an entire day here. The place was just overwhelming. There were tons of wonderful views of canons and desert valleys and high standing plateaus. There were so many trails just begging me to hike them. But it was already getting late. It was sunset when I finally drove out of there. I still had a few hours to drive to Moab. I would be breaking my rule of not driving at night, but it was totally worth it to check out the National Monument. This had been an awesome weekend.