This is part two of Isaac’s road trip across the US to his new home. Isaac is SBM’s gear manager. Read part one to start at the beginning. -ed
Road Trip Part II
In the town of Fruita, Colorado stands the Colorado National Monument. Referred to as simply “The Monument” by locals, its striking red sandstone walls and spires stand watch over the city. It is no doubt a spectacular horizon that just begs to be explored. After indulging in a large, gluten-free Granny’s Pesto pizza from the Hot Tomato Café, I skedaddled up to The Monument while I still had some daylight left to set up camp. Luckily, I arrived just in time. Right as the gloaming gave way to darkness, it started raining and it did not let up the whole night. My Sierra Designs Flash 3 tent was very roomy with only myself inside and even as the rain saturated the ground beneath it, it kept the moisture at bay so I stayed nice and dry.
I had intended to do some rock climbing in the morning, but sandstone becomes brittle when wet and I knew the responsible thing to do was to let the rock dry out. So, I reluctantly abandoned my plans to climb and instead opted to continue on to see if I could find a drier area to explore. I did not have much luck finding a drier area in Colorado, but I did stumble across the Colorado Ski Museum in the quaint mountain village of Vail.
The museum had fascinating displays ranging from the history of ski bindings to an entire section dedicated to the 10th Mountain Division. The museum also has one of the largest (if not the largest) displays of snowboards. Considering that the museum only asks for donations to enter, there really is no reason not to stop and visit.
Point of Interest – Colorado National Monument
The Colorado National Monument was established May 24, 1911 and is located in Central Western Colorado’s Mesa County.
The Monument has one campground: Saddlehorn Campground. It is a spectacular campground, surrounded by juniper and pine trees with sweeping vistas of the red sandstone. The campground also has the nicest campground restrooms I have ever seen and a separate tents-only camping area so the RV generators do not ruin your outdoor experience.
There is plenty of hiking and rock climbing to be had in the park. Even the drive into the park is an adventure, with numerous hairpin turns and tunnels that skirt the huge red sandstone cliffs that fill this park.
Colorado is a truly spectacular state. Even with a thick cloud cover that blocked out the higher mountains, I could see why it is referred to as “The Switzerland of America.” Crossing the Continental Divide I realized that, just like the rivers, I too was headed toward the Atlantic now. It suddenly hit me that I was leaving the Great and Wild West and entering a whole new ecosystem, a whole new world. The impressive Rockies gave way to the high plains of eastern Colorado. As I continued eastward, the wind and rain increased in intensity, but it was to be nothing compared to the storms I would soon encounter in Kansas.