Tag: Palisade

Mt. Garfield Nearly Killed Us

Mt. Garfield Nearly Killed Us

Palisade, Colorado – July 26, 2014

Life is all about choices. My daughter and I had multiple opportunities this morning to make good choices–we failed on several occasions.

The morning started innocently enough; up just before sunrise, Egg McMuffin, and a drive to the Mount Garfield trailhead. We parked in the lot at the trailhead. Leaving the safety of our vehicle, we walked over to the trailhead sign. Little did we know we would be praying soon to be at this same spot a little later that morning.

Mount Garfield as seen from the trailhead parking area.
The Mount Garfield trailhead sign. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the “Caution” portion of the sign…

Mount Garfield is a plateau that is part of the Bookcliffs, which are on the eastern side of Grand Junction. It rises to an elevation of nearly 6,800 feet. That extrapolates to a climb of some 2,000 feet, almost straight up from the parking area. We conveniently missed that bit of information on the trailhead sign.
On the sign is an entry titled “Caution.” It reads, “These trails are extremely steep, rough and challenging. The footing is unstable and slippery, especially when wet.” In retrospect, we should be very thankful the trails were not wet that morning. Oh, note to self, read the sign BEFORE going up next time…
The next warning sign, an arrow pointing straight up to the heavens, awaited us a few hundred feet beyond the trailhead sign. STRAIGHT UP!! A couple of hundred feet beyond the ominous arrow, the trail began its ascent to the clouds. Looking up from the solid earth, I thought any member of the Flying Wallendas would think twice before undertaking such a climb from terra firma. By the way, the trail was barely wider than a tightrope cable customarily used by the Flying Wallenda clan.

The arrow on the trail sign actually points to the trail on the knife-edge of the mountain.

After we had shuffled up the trail a hundred feet or so we stopped to catch our breath and balance. The angle of this brutal trail had to have been 45 degrees. That is an exaggeration; it was more likely 44 degrees. I do not consider myself afraid of heights, but I was scared of this height. The slightest wobble in my balance and I would have gone down one side or the other, not stopping until the earth became comfortably flat again.

Mount Garfield is the formation on the left.
View of the Colorado River valley from about halfway up the trail to Mount Garfield.
Looking back along the very narrow, knife-edge trail.
My mountain goat hiking companion for the morning.
The steep sides did not seem to deter this man. He was descending one knife-edge to the west of our ascent.
Another look at the crazy trail.
Three women stopped to admire the view. They were one knife-edge to the west of us.
This group passed us on the trail.

We continued shuffling up the knife-edged trail. At times, we had to hug immense rock formations while our feet barely fit on the ledge.
At one point, we came to a fork in the trail. I chose the left fork. We quickly found out the right fork would have been a much saner choice. I genuinely think we were both afraid because of the steep pitch of the slope upon which we found ourselves. At that point, the knife-edge trail seemed as wide as a wheat field in Kansas. It took us 30 or 40 minutes to make it back to the path. When we finally arrived at the trail again, we looked up and then looked down. That is when we made the best choice of the day; descend back to the bosom of Mother Earth.
Our descent was harrowing. There were times that we slid down instead of walking down.
Finally, back on level ground, we looked back up the so-called trail and then at each other. In unison, we said, “Never again”; thus ended our attempt to conquer Mount Garfield or rather be conquered.

Once back at the parking area, I turned around for another look at Mount Garfield. It is the formation on the far left.
Bee Festival

Bee Festival

Palisade, Colorado – April 13, 2013

We decided to go to the bee festival in Palisade, Colorado. Leslie had noticed it in the newspaper a day or two ago.

The town is about 20 miles east of Fruita. It is the epicenter of Colorado’s wine industry. The festival was slated to start at 11:00. But, as is the Vice tradition, we were there by 10:30. We parked right by the railroad tracks. That provided a good view of the mesa to the north.

View to the north from the parking area at Palisade, Colorado.

Since we were a little early, we decided to get a cup of coffee. That would hopefully allow the vendor booths to get fully open and operational. We stumbled upon the Slice O’ Life Bakery on 3rd Street. Just as we entered the door, we could hear guitar music, and then we noticed it was live. The man playing was a little older than Leslie and me. As we sat there enjoying the music and coffee, he played the John Denver song, Country Roads. He played several other tunes from the ’60s and ’70s. Leslie sang right along with each song.

The sign for the Slice O’ Life Bakery.
This guitar player did a lot of John Denver songs.
View out the door of the Slice O’ Life Bakery.
Poster for the Rose Hill Rally.

Emerging from the coffee shop, we walked to Lupita’s Bizarre Bazaar, Too. Hillary had been there before. She told us that in a former life, the store had been a bank. At the rear of the store was a vault. Inside the vault is a safe that they supposedly do not have the combination for opening. They invite customers to try their luck. Tyler did not get it open when he tried.
Lupita’s store windows and The Blue Pig Gallery provided some excellent photo opportunities.

The south end of a northbound blue pig…
Bees and pigs…
The sign says it all!
View from Lupita’s.
View from Lupita’s II.

Walking around the festival, we did see some adults and children wandering around in bee costumes.
We stopped at The Zesty Moose booth. The couple, Brian and Diana, make all of the spice mixtures and rubs. We bought three different jars to take back to Guyana; Rack Ragin’ Cajun, Twigs n’ Stix Southwest, and Willow of a Dillo Dilly. They all smelled great. We are excited to try them.
Another booth demonstrated how workers remove honey from the hives.

Part of the Bee Festival on West 3rd Street in Palisade, Colorado.

The Blue Pig Gallery on the corner of Main and 3rd.
The day’s schedule.
A stretch pickup truck limo…only in Colorado!
A bee walking around the festival.
The booth for The Zesty Moose seasonings.
Departing the Palisade Tribune.
People walking around the festival.
A bee under escort…
This vendor was explaining how honey is extracted.
The beehive smoker.

By about 11:30, we were done walking around the festival. Earlier in the day, someone mentioned that The Hot Tomato in Fruita was an excellent place for lunch. Since it was that time of day, we decided we would try it out. We walked back to the van and pointed it back west.
On Interstate 70 there is a turn-out that truckers use often. I pulled over quickly so I could take a panorama photo of Mount Garfield. At two miles and 2,000 feet elevation gain, Hillary said it is one of the toughest trails in the area.

A panorama of Mount Garfield.About 15 minutes later, we were at The Hot Tomato. It was packed, a good sign. Leslie and Tyler had a slice each of pizza with pepperoni, black olives, green peppers, and onions. Lorraine and Aunt Arlene shared a chef’s salad. Hillary and I opted for calzones. She filled hers with pepperoni, black olives, and artichoke hearts. I filled mine with a manly mixture of pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and Italian sausage. It was delicious!!
The restaurant touts its pizza as being made with love. All of the pizzas are hand-tossed. The dough used is made from scratch, not frozen. It all makes for a very fresh, delicious meal. If Leslie let me, I would go there five times a week. For anyone passing through Fruita, this is a must stop!

Tyler preparing to enter the Hot Tomato Cafe.

The front window is covered with posters of local events.
The menu board in the Hot Tomato Cafe.
Hillary waiting on her calzone.