Rattlesnake Arches (McInnis Canyons)

May 2, 2021

Arrival at Pollock Bench

I found myself back in Grand Junction on a Sunday in May for round two of my COVID-19 vaccination. The next morning I’d receive a jab at a local pharmacy before driving back to Denver and the Front Range. Four weeks prior, vaccine appointments were impossible to book in the Front Range and high country, but Mesa County had plenty of free slots. Sadly, as of this writing (August 2021), Mesa County remains largely unvaccinated, with rapidly rising case counts.

But on this Sunday my goals involved something entirely different: a long hike through desert canyons to see the remote and beautiful Rattlesnake Arches.

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High peaks trail (Pinnacles National Park)

California condors soar over sandcastle rock formations in Pinnacles National Park.

June 30, 2020, Pinnacles National Park

Google Fail

The day began long before sunrise, with a 2-hour drive to Pinnacles National Park. This outing would mark my second national park visit in California in only a few weeks. I aimed to arrive at Pinnacles around sunrise, so I could enjoy a multi-hour hike before the temperatures in central California inevitably climbed into the high 90s.

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Rim Rock Drive and the Coke Ovens (Colorado Nat’l Monument)

May 6, 2020, Grand Junction

I spent a day at Colorado National Monument while moving across the country in May, 2020. There are three basic ways to get from New York to San Francisco, with I-80 being the fastest. But I chose I-70 because crossing through the heart of the Rockies and Southern Utah seemed like a way cooler experience.

No surprise: the continental divide and Utah’s red rock vistas did not disappoint! But Western Colorado was the real sleeper hit of this road trip. Glenwood Canyon was perhaps the coolest part of the entire drive coast-to-coast. Grand Junction was a surprisingly cute town with some great eats. And Colorado National Monument was just plain stunning.

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