Saturday, October 8, 2011

GRAND MESA


We picked up friends Ken and Marie this morning and they came along with us to Grand Mesa.  Some reports have it as the largest mesa in North America.  Ken guided us up the gravel access road as it was more interesting and less traffic.  We ran into more snow than anticipated and the soft snow/slush the cars drove in the past two days was today frozen, which we flattened out with our undercarriage making a fair bit of noise and to the displeasure of a couple of passengers.  We could have used a few more inches of clearance for sure, but we made it.  There was some cheering when we came to the ploughed, paved main road  We'd taken a picnic lunch, but with the -5C overcast and windy, it was decided to have lunch at the lodge.  Lunch was good in the big log lodge and free of charge, were a couple of chocolate labs who visited each table on a regular basis.  No scraps left under any table!  My altimeter said we were up as high as 10,400 feet so it was very pleasant when we dropped back down to valley level and +13C.     
The Grand Mesa is a large mesa in western Colorado in the United States. It has an area of about 500 square miles (1,300 km2) and stretches for about 40 miles (64 km) east of Grand Junction between the Colorado River and the Gunnison River, its tributary to the south. The north side of the mesa is drained largely by Plateau Creek, a smaller tributary of the Colorado. The west side is drained largely by Kannah Creek, which is received to the west by the lower Gunnison River. The mesa rises about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above the surrounding river valleys, including the Grand Valley to the west, reaching an elevation of about 11,000 feet (3,400 m), with a maximum elevation of 11,333 feet (3,454 m) at Crater Peak. Much of the mesa is within Grand Mesa National Forest. Over 300 lakes, including many reservoirs created and used for drinking and irrigation water, are scattered along the top of the formation. The Grand Mesa is flat in some areas, but quite rugged in others.   I copied this from Wikipedia.

The fog kept rolling in and then receding as we made our way up the hill

Okay, let's set the scene.  This doesn't look like much does it?  It is a pipe stuck in the bank to channel the water.  However, note that it is freezing and there are a few plants still out.

These leaves are encased in the ice



These green plants have become encased in ice one drop at a time from the water dropping onto the rocks and splashing outward.

Just up the toad was this frozen waterfall

We kept getting peek a  boo glimpses of some colourful treed hillsides

This is Hoar (or Rime) frost on the grass

Its beginning to look like winter is settling in


I took this tonight after supper, a couple miles from our RV park.  These are part of the Book Cliffs, a natural feature, which run for miles on the north side of Grand Junction.  I'm parked along side I-70 shooting out the window.