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Inversion Day Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument is in the vicinity of Fruita. The City of Fruita is a home rule municipality located in western Mesa County in Colorado.

The last time I was at Colorado National Monument was about a year ago. I came over for work. It just happened to be an on-location dry-ice (cryo) blasting job our crew worked at in the visitors centre's lobby. I have hoped to be back, especially in winter to capture the dramatic scenes of the terrain during an inversion day.

In meteorology, an inversion, also known as a temperature inversion, is a deviation from the normal change of an atmospheric property with altitude. It almost always refers to an inversion of the thermal lapse rate. Normally, air temperature decreases with an increase in altitude. During an inversion, warmer air is held above cooler air; the normal temperature profile with altitude is inverted. [1]

Temperatures were conducive. Light snow and icy fog day equal inversion activities, so I headed out west in mid-day.

The panoramic canyon views, vast tableland, towering geological monoliths, and tall perpendicular walls will rise instant awe to any visitor at the park.

Even with the natural erosion and constant change, the Colorado National Monument maintains one of the American West's majestic landscapes.

Before this twenty something thousand acres became a national Park, a lone canyon dweller named John Otto lived here. In 1911 he started a one-man campaign to have his "backyard" declared a national park. Aptly so, Otto became the park’s first superintendent.

The twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive with just a touch of powdered snow.
The gravity-defiant sandstone statue stands at the edge along Rim Rock Drive. The shape of this towering stones somewhat resembles a student facing a mentor.
The Rim Rock Drive in spherical panorama
Just around the corner
One of the two dugouts monolith
The cliff overlook
Just around the corner of Saddlehorn Campground
Chimney-like tops
The bluffs surrounded by fog during the inversion
Single Tree
Junipers are so resilient
Passing through inversion
Misty Monolith
Freezing and thawing, winter, summer, spring and fall. Rocks expand and contracts. They crack and move apart and, the landscape continues to transform.
The grandeur of “Independence Monument”
John Otto, his climbing partner Rae Kennedy and photographer Whipple Chester became the first three people to summit the “Independent Monument.” (side view)
“The Kissing Couple”
“Praying hands” 🙏🏽
“The Island”
Canyons in the Monument ranges in depth, some as deep as 500 feet and monoliths as tall as 450 feet.
Pinyon, Juniper trees, and Sagebrush bushes adds speckle of greenery on these plateau of red rocks.
The “Pipe Organ” at the end of Otto's Trail
These sheer-walled canyons cut deep into sandstone and granite rock formations.
Art on the rocks
Eroded surfaces invites just enough snow to make a temporary art masterpiece
This is the “Coke Ovens” Overlook
Dead trees can stand for mortality or that there is no escaping time.
Over tens of thousands of years these erosions continue to change the landscape. These views will not last and like change, it remains the constant.
View of the Fruita below
Fruita's elevation below is 4,513 feet
Temperature inversion can result in freezing rain
In the far horizon is “The Grand Mesa” - the world’s largest flat-top mountain, dominates!
"I came here last year and found these canyons, and they felt like the heart of the world to me. I'm going to stay and promote this place because it should be a national park." - John Otto
20,533 acres of majestic wonder
I am just a visitor

Colorado National Park | 1750 Rim Rock Drive Fruita, CO 81521 | 970.858.2800 www.nps.gov/colm/index.htm | [1] Wikipedia

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Created By
Raj Manickam
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Photos: © 2021 Raj Manickam