Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Fruita, CO – July 23, 2012

Earlier this morning I drove to the top of Colorado National Monument to watch the sunrise. I did encounter two or three other people that were out taking photographs too. Other than that, I had the place to myself.

I stopped at the Grand Overlook at about 06:00 and hiked a hundred meters or so to the main overlook. I ended up sitting on top of the canyon wall a little to the south and east of the Independence Monument. That gave me a great view of the east face of the 450-foot tall Monument. Off in the distance, I could see the Needle Hole and the Praying Hands. It was tranquil and relaxing sitting there watching the sun come up and paint the sandstone cliffs with a robust red hue. I could have stayed there for hours.

I did not stay there for hours. After taking dozens of photographs, I drove back to Fruita. The early morning light was so good; I had to stop to take a picture of the COOP elevator. Without such good light, I am not so sure that it would have been an exciting subject. As it ended up, I was back at the house by 07:30 to prepare for more doctor appointments.

I will stop the story at this point and let the photograph captions take over.

The beginning of the sunrise over Grand Junction, Colorado as seen from the Grand Overlook in the Colorado National Monument.

The sun peeking over the mountains.
The sun has officially risen!
Formations to the east of Grand Overlook. Grand Mesa is in the distance.
A dead cedar tree captured at first light.
View to the northwest. Independence Monument is on the right side of the image.
A twisted cedar tree at Grand Overlook.
View to the east.
Looking over the edge to the floor of Monument Canyon.
A cedar tree at the edge of a cliff at Grand Overlook.
View to the north. Monument Canyon flows from the Independence Monument toward Fruita, Colorado.
Yes, another dead cedar…
A different view, but still a dead cedar…
One can see the Praying Hands in the center of this image.
A closeup view of Independence Monument.
The view back uphill from the Grand Overlook.
The end of Monument Canyon.
You guessed it, another cedar tree!
The sun directly above Independence Monument. Grand Junction, Colorado is in the distance.
The early morning light persuaded me to stop and capture the COOP elevator in Fruita.
A vertical view of the elevator.

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