I asked what I think is a pretty strange question while I was at my orientation a couple of weeks ago. My Hawkeye Guide was talking about how she got a mountain climbing certification (or something of that nature), and I got all excited.
“Are there mountains here?” I asked, relieved for some reason. From what I’d heard, there simply weren’t any mountains around the University of Iowa. And while those hills may seem treacherous, they’re nothing compared to my mountains. It turned out her certification was for indoor rock climbing, but the question made me laugh throughout the day anyway. It’s a silly question! It ranks up there with “So, you get tornadoes here, right?” and “Is this how humid it always is?” (I asked those, too.)
What struck me upon returning home was how much I loved the mountains. Whenever people visit and get excited about the view, it’s hard to understand what they’re all on about. I didn’t realize how much I took the Grand Valley for granted until I spent a week away from it.
So, to give you all a little glimpse into the Grand Valley, I decided to take some pictures! Withing fifteen minutes of my house sit a nice bit of desert, three different mountainous landmarks, a big ol’ river, and a bunch of farms. We’ll start with the desert.
Look! It's some desert! And behind that bit of desert we see the Bookcliffs, named for their remarkable likeness to books, I'd imagine.
The Bookcliffs line one entire side of the Grand Valley. While the Bookcliffs seem to go on endlessly to the west, they come to a halt at Mt. Garfield — the bookend of sorts.
This is Mt. Garfield. I like to think it was named after the cat.
The Bookcliffs and Mt. Garfield are north of my house. To the east is the Grand Mesa.
This is the Grand Mesa -- the largest mesa in all the world!
It's just a really big, flat mountain.
In the south is the Colorado National Monument. It’s important to remember, while looking at this monument, something that all the Colorado kids learn in 4th grade. Colorado means “colored red.” Got it?
Get it? See the red? Eh, eh?
Now THAT is a monument. (Or so I'm told.)
Here’s a quick peek at the Colorado River.
We are also pretty well known for our fruit. Those Palisade Peaches are deliiiiiicious!
And we also have something that you Iowa folk may be familiar with!
Is that corn?! I guess my town isn't all that different.
Keep in mind, all of this is 15 minutes from my house. To give you some perspective, I went to my Grandma’s house. You can see every bit of the valley very clearly from her porch.
A view of the Bookcliffs from my Grandma's porch.
A view of Mt. Garfield with the Grand Mesa behind it. Taken from my Grandma's back porch.
A view of the Monument from my Grandma's porch.
So as you can probably tell by now, moving away from all of this will be a big change. Although I’ll miss it like crazy, I am very excited to get on with a new part of my life. This adventure across the valley gave me a chance to really appreciate the beauty that I’d always taken for granted.
The last stop on my adventure was my front yard!
After my adventure across the Grand Valley... also, there's my car!