Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Monday, November 30, 2009

K's belated birthday adventure in the desert

After spending a couple of hours in an MRI tube today, my brains feel scrambled and my back isn't too happy either. But, I want to start the story of our trip, and I'll continue it in the coming days.

Last weekend, we started on the east side of the Continental Divide at about 8000' in our snowy world. We drove up a couple of thousand feet, across the arctic world of the Divide, and down the Western Slope. As we descended toward Colorado's western border and the Colorado Plateau, the snow thinned and finally almost disappeared. The mountains seemed stunted compared to the alpine wonderland we'd just traversed but many of them glowed red, like fiery rock monuments.

We descended to about 5000' elevation next to the mighty Colorado River. The raging river shaped the land over millions of years, leaving sculpted rocks and cliffs. We arrived at our destination near the town of Fruita after dark. Our first sight upon awakening was a polished smooth cone of honey colored rock, towering as high as a two-story building and surrounded by juniper trees.
In the uncluttered desert-like world, the temperature had plummeted after sunset, reaching around 20 degrees, and then soared as the first sun rays reached our campsite. Most days, the air reached a comfortable 45-50 degrees by late morning. We stayed warm overnight thanks to our comfortable Sportsmobile van with a recently installed heater. I love the heater! Yes, I'm getting soft in my middle years...
On our first day, my back felt horrendous after the several hour drive the day before. However, I reminded myself that riding is almost always the best remedy, and it proved to be true again. Riding works far better than any of the prescription medications that my docs advocate.

K ran and I pedaled up a sinuous path toward the White Rim Trail in Rabbit Valley. I planned to take K for a short ride and then leave her in camp with the rest of the pack. However, she emanated energy and happiness to such an extent that I couldn't possibly leave her behind for part of the ride.
So, I decided that ride would be her special birthday adventure. We missed our yearly special outing on her birthday this year due to her pancreatitis. We had a blast on her belated birthday ride. We didn't see another soul and explored starkly striking terrain. At one point, I literally started laughing out loud as I rode. I felt so happy - on top of the world with my favorite riding partner. What a day!

Our trail followed the rim of a cliff with spectacular views down into the plateau containing the Colorado River.
Over millions of years, raging waters have shaped a maze of rock cones just below the overhanging cliff. Our trail followed the cliff above the cones in the photo below.
Parts of the trail followed the cliff's edge while others meandered onto red dusty soil inland from the rim. The trail wove among gargantuan boulders that, in the midst of rumbling and tumbling down the cliff, haphazardly stopped on the edge of the abyss eons ago.
These precariously perched monsters reminded me that our world is still changing. No doubt, they'll teeter and fall off the cliff when they're next disturbed. The volkswagon sized boulder shown below, with hollowed out caves like eye sockets, hung on the rim of the cliff. Somehow, I don't know how, friction is still winning the fight with gravity, holding that boulder on the edge of a several hundred foot fall.
After a blissful ride, K and I headed to our next campsite overlooking the Colorado River.
We continued to enjoy utter solitude. Over the entire day, we spotted only a few other people in this usually extremely popular area. K snoozed in the sun on the cushioned dog bed, contentedly tired and happy after our ride.
Toward sunset, we walked along the rim overlooking the river. Young and boisterous R remained leashed. If a rodent skittered over the edge, we feared that he'd follow!
The photo above also shows that it snowed in the days leading up to our visit. In the gullies on north-facing slopes, the sight of snow surprised me every time.

In the evening, we watched the sun set over the river next to a campfire. A coyote howled again and again. Based on his canine song, we could tell that he moved speedily along the opposite rim of a side canyon. We felt lucky that this wonderland was our private paradise for a day.


  1. Absolutely wonderful - I can feel the warmth from here. How nice for you and K to have such a beautiful place all to yourselves.

  2. WOW!

    Such a change in views!

    Happy Belated Birthday to K!

    We are glad you enjoyed seeing our neighbour chocolate Lab! Khyra has met him several times when her tie out snapped and she ventured into their yard - they got on well!

    Hope your head clears after this day of tests -

  3. Fantastic photos! The golden red of the cliffs, fabulous trails, beautiful K by your side, warmth of the sun! So nice. Mom's folks have a Sportsmobile too...they love going to Arizona and the Four Corners areas... Looks like a great start to your trip, and really clear weather!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose and mom

  4. The trail you rode looks hard! I love the twilight on the rim rock. I like that area - we road bike there at least once a year, either spring or fall when nobody else goes. It's a great time to be outdoors. I think you tired K out!

    Keeping my fingers crossed for your results from the MRI.

  5. Kia ora KB,
    Love the scenery and the change. Isn't it great to go somewhere different and have the place to yourself. The land of Edward Abbey.

  6. Oh those lovely MRI's. Beautiful scenery.

  7. Didn't realize you were posting again already. Got to catch up. Beautiful scenery out there. Hope the biking is easing your back.

  8. So totally different, but beautiful. I love to see K pounding along behind you!


  9. Beautiful! It sounds like the trip made you very happy. I'm glad.

  10. KB, I love this post-the photos are wonderful and because I haven't yet explored this part of my new home state you gave me a glimpse of the beauty of it. Have you ever thought of writing a book-you are a very gifted writer! Thanks for sharing this day with me.
    Hugs, Noreen


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!