Where to begin…

I left on Tuesday of last week with a friend and headed for Grand Junction.  Why GJ?  Normally I travel to Europe in the spring with David.  This year there were several complications.  One being Beau and two being the WTW bookings.  I decided to stay home, take care of the dog and keep business under control.  Ok fine.  I also decided to take a road trip to somewhere that might interest me for a future inn-to-inn trip.  Aha!  Grand Junction.

David and I went there years ago and actually considered moving there.  It lies in the western part of the state near the Utah border and has a lot to offer.  The city itself is sprawled out on a high desert plain with the Colorado National Monument, a small National Park to the south, more canyonlands to the west, the dry Bookcliff Mountains to the north and the Grand Mesa, a huge flattop mountain at 10,000 feet with plenty of forest, snowshoe and hiking trails and lakes, to the east.  There’s plenty of snow on the mesa and plenty of sunshine on the plain.  There’s also Palisade which is home to Colorado peaches and some pretty good wineries.  All this interested me and it’s only 5 hours away.

So off we went.  Penny and I left on Tuesday and planned to meet up with Michele on Wednesday for some Monument hiking.  We only had two days before both of them would leave me and head home.  I planned to stay another week.

On Wednesday morning we left my car at a trailhead and headed for another where the 3 of us would hike about 3 miles on the Monument Canyon Trail.  Michele would return, go up on the road and meet us for lunch.  She then had business to take care of in GJ.  Penny and I had a good 16 (turned out to be 17) mile day ahead of us to get back to my car.

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The Monument, the warm weather, everything was awesome.  We climbed up, met Michele for lunch and continued on the Black Ridge Trail and down Liberty Cap for a total of 17 miles including one detour.



We finished with big smiles and headed for the Wine Country Inn in Palisade where we would meet Michele.  Loved the place and would definitely add it to our itinerary.  It’s soft with vineyards and big rocking chairs, almost southern.  Dinner was excellent and the room wonderful.  I was happy.

The next morning after a slow start (it’s not good to talk about your friends) we headed for the mesa.  I’m not sure what I was expecting as I live where a change in elevation can make a huge difference in conditions.  I know this.  Yet, I was flabbergasted when we arrived at the Crag Crest Trailhead and couldn’t even get in the parking because of the snow.  Huh??



Out came the snowshoes.  Boo.  We carried cleats and decided a short ways in that cleating was a better way to go.  One thing about this area- the sign marking are terrible.  We’re so used to the national park where everything is well marked.  Not so here.  Anyway, we followed the snowpacked trail as far as we could with occasional blue pained blazes on the trees.  We couldn’t go all the way around so we returned and went to Alexander Lake Lodge.  Penny and I then went exploring and actually found a creek coming from the trail.  This would be the quickest way to get to the lodge from the CC trail.  Whoo-hoo!  Good find.

The lodge and cabins reminded me so much of Allenspark where we all live.  Sort of mountain funky.  Loved it.  We had two cabins and went to the restaurant for dinner.  The pics below are of the main lodge, but the cabins are a little ways down the road.  Still, it gives you a feel for the area.


To be continued…[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]