Day 14: Colorado National Monument and the Emmitt-Nershi Band.
Today was hot. It was probably in the high 90s all day and at our electric and water only campsite, the AC for some reason was tripping the breakers after running about a half hour. We stayed in and tried not to melt until it got a little cooler but we had big plans for some late afternoon sightseeing.
The state park we are staying at is only 2 miles from the Colorado National Monument. With our annual park pass, we had free access to check it out. Even though we got here fairly late in the day and the visitor’s center was closed, we were still able to drive around and check out the views.
The road through the monument is a 23 mile long and twisty 2 lane road with sheer cliffs on one side. It climbs over 2,000 ft to the peak at around 6,500 ft in elevation.
Like the National Parks in southern Utah that we have been to in the last 2 weeks, these beautiful canyons are from millions of years of erosion.
Throughout the drive, there are various pull-out vantage points for visitors. The plateaus in the monument are all in various stages of erosion. Wind, water, ice and weather conditions erode the loose dirt and softer sandstone to reveal the harder limestone. In the distance of this spot is called ‘the Island’. What was once a connected mesa has eroded away to a standalone plateau accessible only by climbers.
These dome-shaped monuments resemble the coke ovens that are used to produce coke from coal. They eventually will all be turned into dust and dirt at the bottom of the canyon.
We didn’t have time to drive the entire 23 miles and back so we decided to make it out to one of the larger lookout points called ‘The Grand View’.
This spot juts out from a rock into the middle of the canyon and has handrails protecting the visitors from the 2,000 foot drop. If you want to know what the view is like out there, you are going to have to watch the video embedded below. Marlene was in charge of taking photos and this photo above is about as far as she got.
To Marlene’s delight, we made it back to the campground unscathed. Even though we got a late start, we had a full schedule to keep. When we came to the campground 4 days ago, the staff told us about the free concert in the park. By the time we got back, this place was packed.
We had not heard of the band before and did not expected this many people to show. The band is called The Emmitt-Nershi Band and they describe their sound as a new country blues. If you are a fan of the jam bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish, you might have heard of these two guys. Drew Emmitt and Bill Nershi. Each of them are the leaders behind their own legendary jam bands. Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon and Bill Nershi of The String Cheese Incident.
Whether you are into the jam band scene or not, it is easy to understand why people do when you watch them live. These guys are masters of their crafts and they know how to keep a party going.
This concert if part of the Riverfront Concert Series organized by the Colorado Riverfront Project. The CRP organization not only put together community events like this but they also help maintain and protect the environment around the Colorado River in the Grand Junction area.
Of course this wouldn’t be a party at the park without some food and drinks like ice cream,
and of course ice cold beer.
You know you are listening to a jam band when there are dudes wearing tie-dye shirts doing the chicken dance.
It might be just me but there was also a peculiar scent in the air emanating from behind me where a few other tie-dyed dudes we hanging out.
over and out,
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