Monday, May 30, 2011

2011 - March 22nd - Colorado National Monument (Echo/No Thoroughfare Canyons, Rim Rock Drive)

It was Spring Break for some, but for me, it was just a couple of days off. I had filled in on the morning show on that Monday and thus was able to have most of the day off too, so I suppose it was an extended weekend of sorts, which was good as I had guests coming to stay with me.

My friend Katherine arrived on Monday night and we endured a muddy rain that painted cars brown while heading out for some dinner at Fiesta Guadalajara.

We got up early the next morning to head into the Monument so I could show her some of my favorite places. We started off at the first trail head at the East Entrance and headed into Echo Canyon. It was my fourth time in that particular canyon. (Previous accounts can be found here: 1, 2, and 3) With the previous evening's rain, I speculated that the waterfall(s) might/may be active.

We made good progress across the No Thoroughfare Wash and up the initial stretches of the Old Gordon Trail. The air was cool but the sun was shining. The clouds did look rather heavy, however.

As we worked our way down into the canyon, the sheltered recesses seemed to hold the heat in a little better and made it actually quite pleasant.

We made it to the end of the canyon in no time but found the waterfall dry. The pool at the bottom looked freshly filled, so I speculated that it does actually fall during the rain. There was also debris along the edge of the pool that was not there when I had previously visited. We hung around the pool for a while and took a few pictures.

Cottonwood Trees At The End Of The Canyon

I remembered that on my previous visit, the pool acted as an amazing mirror and was surprised to find out that it was even more vivid on this day.

Katherine Holding On To Her Hat As The Wind Swirled Around The End Of The Canyon

As we left the end of the canyon, we explored the "Half-Lemon" area that I've noted in previous entries. There was a little water at the bottom of the fall there as well, but nothing actively falling.

We passed the place where I had injured myself on cactus and then walked down along the "three pools" area as well. I found this vivid red-colored leaf floating in the water where it seeps out of the rock.

We encountered a strange sensation while in the canyon. All we could see was blue sky and warm sunshine between the canyon rims, but at times, it was snowing! As we left the canyon and ascended back to the junction with the Old Gordon Trail, we were completely engulfed in a snow squall.

Snow quickly fades

With plenty of time on our hands, we headed into No Thoroughfare Canyon. (Previous accounts here: 1 & 2) The sun was shining again and though it was a little cool, it seemed to remain nice out. The most interesting thing to me was that in many places, the trail had been completely erased by small dunes of blowing sand courtesy of the storm the night before. The storm also brought rain, which we found flowing a short way in.

We passed the first pool and the lower falls and made haste to make it to the upper falls. I regaled Katherine with tales of my harrowing slip and fall adventure while we sat and had a snack.

"Make a funny face for the camera," I said.

Realizing that time was short, we turned back and quickly made for the trail head. I popped off a few shots on the way as the light was very pretty.

Lower No Thoroughfare Falls (This Time Ice-Free)

The reason we were hurrying had to do with the fact that I had to pick up another good friend, "Inspector" Kendell LaRoche from the Amtrak Station. He was railing? in from Denver for a two-day visit.

When we picked him up, we went downtown for dinner at Pablo's Pizza. It was my first time eating there and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was still early evening and not wanting to spoil our trip to Arches National Park the next day, we resolved to drive Rim Rock Road and just take some pictures. I'll spare the play-by-play and just let the pictures talk.


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