A week in Zion National Park and Colorado Monument, page 4

Page 1: Zion Canyon
Page 2: Angel's Landing and East Zion
Page 3: Emerald Pools and Hidden Canyon
Page 4: Colorado Monument

Friday-Saturday, October 31 - November 1

Distance: 45.7 miles
Riding time: 4 hours, 6 minutes
Average speed: 11.1 mph
Maximum speed: 37.3 mph

This is a 2-day entry. Yesterday we packed our car as early as we could (just past 10 a.m.) and left for Fruita, Colorado, where our friends John and Chandra live. Yesterday morning was the first time that we had seen clouds over Zion, and as we drove away the overcast sky began to rain - we picked the perfect time to leave. We drove to Fruita to break our trip home into 2 days, since long drives are hard on our kids, but this was also a great time to visit friends since yesterday was Halloween. John and Chandra's oldest daughter, Kimee, is about the same age as Daniel, and neither Kimee nor Daniel had ever gone trick-or-treating in a neighborhood before. Dressed up as a fairy and as a pirate, Kimee and Daniel ran door-to-door and took turns ringing doorbells, excited to ask strangers for candy. John and Chandra's youngest daughter, Abby, is about the same age as Maggie, and it was fun to hear them babble to each other in baby talk.


Kimee and Daniel play together before trick-or-treating.


John and Abby.


The kids and Chandra in Halloween costume.


Asking a stranger for candy.

We spent most of today biking through Colorado National Monument, which is just a few miles west of Fruita. The monument is on the eastern border of the Colorado Plateau, an elevated piece of the earth's crust that covers parts of Utah, Colorado and Arizona, and the monument is full of steep-walled canyons that drain down to the Colorado River. Even after spending a week in Zion, I was unexpectedly impressed by Colorado Monument. We rode uphill for about 15 miles before reaching our first stretch of downhill, and then we climbed again. The scenic road weaved around the edge of the plateau, letting us peer down into canyon after canyon until I lost count of all the canyons. The monument's scenic road connects the two entrances in Fruita and Grand Junction, so we rode through to Grand Junction and then rode county roads back to the house. Chandra was making dinner when we arrived, so we got to relax and sit down to a prepared meal with friends, rather than cook our own dinner on a picnic table again. Simple conveniences feel like luxuries when we've been away from them for a little while, so we enjoyed having carpet, couches, indoor lighting, heat, a bed and a convenient bathroom.

Living at home makes me want to be outdoors, and living outdoors helps me appreciate our home. Our children seem to like the outdoors too, and during this week Daniel repeatedly told us that he likes hiking and camping. He can identify a few new plants now, and is beginning to understand that water carved out the many canyons that we've seen. He's become better than me at spotting deer - maybe because he doesn't need to watch the trail when we're hiking. Maggie was a happy, content baby throughout our trip, always willing to watch and smile while we cooked meals or hiked cliffs or biked for hours. This vacation was a fitting end for a great family summer.


Pausing on the steep climb into Colorado Monument.


Balanced Rock.


An overlook above Fruita and the steep road.


More climbing.


The Monument is full of steep-sided canyons like this one.


Colorful sediment layers near the Monument's north entrance by Grand Junction.


John reads Kimee and Daniel a bedtime story.

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Page 1: Zion Canyon
Page 2: Angel's Landing and East Zion
Page 3: Emerald Pools and Hidden Canyon
Page 4: Colorado Monument