Colorado National Monument, Fruita, CO.

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After a beautiful drive through the Rocky Mountains, we pulled into Fruita, CO, home to Colorado National Monument. Oddly, we’ve never been, although we used to make the drive from IL to Las Vegas annually for a trade show. We made it happen this drive.

We got off the exit and saw a small state park with camping. We figured we’d stay there and head to the monument in the morning. However, when the state park employee said the monument campground was only six miles away, we figured we’d just go for it. He told us we’d fit through the tunnel no problem, but to straddle the middle anyways.

We climbed, went through two rock tunnels, thanked our decision to go Airstream because of the tunnels, and trolled the Saddlehorn campground for a spot. There were few left, aside from “reserved” sites that air camped in that night. (It’s quite frustrating to frequently see loads of national and state parks campsites “reserved” but vacant. It’s a tough situation, because we also very much appreciate the ability to reserve sites ourselves.) We found something that sort of worked, slept, and moved very early in the AM to the thankfully level picnic area.

From the picnic area we ate breakfast and hung out until we hiked to the visitor’s center, a short 1/2 mile. Little Fella decided he’d start his own drawing journal to capture the things he loves most on our trip. He drew three scenes that short hike, the canyon, a carved rock, and something else I unfortunately cannot recall. I adore that he came up with that on his own and I am excited to see it develop.

Both boys became Junior Rangers by completing five activities in their books and hiking a trail (the one we took to the center.) The book focused on canyon formation, hiking safety, and so on. They completed them quite easily. We hiked back and took the boys to a dino museum down in Fruita that afternoon.

One crazy thing that struck me at the canyon is the silence. I mean, no sound, not a peep, not a cricket or flapping bird wing silence. The campground and picnic area were so void of noise it was remarkable. I soaked that in as I shot photos over the void. It’s a replenishment I often don’t get.