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Southwestern Colorado During the Boulder Flood

San Miguel Canyon ©Lynne Buchanan



Originally, my plans called for my to travel north to Boulder.  I was going to try and arrange a visit with the Riverkeeper in Fort Collins.  Right before I left on my trip, I decide to change plans and visit southwestern Colorado instead, since there were two Riverkeepers there and another in Moab I could see.  That was fortunate, as I would have had to cancel my plans.  Aaron Kimple, the Riverkeeper in Durango and the waitress at the restaurant I had dinner at both told me that if I loved rivers, I need to follow the Dolores River up into San Miguel Canyon.  I went over Lizard Pass to get there, which was also spectacular.  The San Miguel Canyon is stunning, with red rock walls.  It was a wonderful drive through a part of Colorado that I had never seen before.  The rivers in Colorado are typically filled with silt, although the heavy rains the state experienced caused the rivers to be even murkier than usual.  Nevertheless, it was lovely and definitely the road less traveled.

From there, I continued up towards Ridgeway before going on to Grand Junction.  This route afforded an amazing view of the mountains from Ouray to Silverton which the Million Dollar Highway traverses.  In the past, I have always taken this route.  I found the perspective of looking up at the mountains to be equally compelling and majestic.  It was also far less harrowing since the weather had been very changeable all day and storms were blowing in and out.  Somehow, I managed to miss all of the bad weather.  It was really quite remarkable.  And, I managed to receive the added benefit of many glorious clouds.

View Towards Ouray ©Lynne Buchanan

My next stop was Grand Junction, Colorado, where I visited my friends Jerold and Karen.  Jerold took me running in the National Monument.  What a spectacular spot.  I may have to move there one day.  Grand Junction has rivers, lots of desert plants, mountains, wonderful rock formations and it is a college town and not overly touristy.  A great added benefit is that in terms of topography, it is situated to receive water well and will survive the ensuing water shortage better than many Southwestern towns.   I probably should not espouse its benefits much more, or too many people might end up moving there and then it wouldn't be as special.  The photographs below are two of many incredible vistas.

National Monument Monolith ©Lynne Buchanan

National Monument Flora ©Lynne Buchanan