Colorado National Monument
Trip Start Aug 12, 2013
47Trip End Oct 02, 2013
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As I was heading toward the entrance to Colorado National Monument this morning it occurred to me that I couldn't remember the picture on the national parks pass I bought two days ago at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. When I got to the gate I looked for the pass and, as I was afraid, I only had my old pass. I showed the ranger my receipt and explained that we had been talking and the person must have forgotten to give me my new pass. She let me in but that was only a temporary solution to my problem.
Colorado National Monument has one main road going through it. The Visitor Center is closer to the entrance at the other end from where I entered. The park has steep red rock canyons typical of other Colorado Plateau parks I've seen, such as Arches National Park, which isn't too far away. I stopped at every overlook to check out the views as I headed toward the Visitor Center. It was obvious that the vast majority of the infrastructure was done by the CCC. It's a very old national monument having been created in 1911.
After getting about half-way to the Visitor Center I decided I better get there and try to solve my problem before it got too late so I started passing the overlooks. I went in and explained what had happened. The ranger I spoke to said that the way their accounting is done I'd have to have the people at Florissant take care of it. She gave me a phone number and the title of the person I needed to talk to. I went out to my car and called. I didn't reach the person but I left a message. I went back in and watched their two movies and went through their exhibits.
My call still had not been returned so I called again and explained who I was trying to reach and why. The person I talked to was very glad to hear from me. It seems the person who had waited on me had realized there was a problem, although she thought she had charged me for the wrong pass, and they had been trying to reach me. After exchanging a few calls and discussing the options, we decided the best way to fix the problem was just to do a refund to my credit card and have me buy another pass at the next park I visit so we did that.
I took three of the short trails near the Visitor Center: Alcove Nature Trail, Canyon Rim Trail and Window Rock Trail. By then it was getting late enough that I quit hiking and drove back to the overlooks I had passed earlier. By the time I finished visiting them the light was already getting bad. I drove toward the entrance closest to the Visitor Center passing the outlooks I had not yet seen between the Visitor Center and the entrance. Colorado National Monument has some great scenery and it definitely deserves another visit to see the rest of it.
I headed for Dinosaur, CO. I had a room booked, which I was told was the only free room in town. There are only two hotels and they're full of workers who are building a pipeline near here. It was late by the time I arrived. I checked in and went to bed.