BOBBY MAGILL

Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a senior science writer for Climate Central in New York and a journalist who has covered fracking and the environment in Colorado and New Mexico since 2001. 

Sacrilege and Intrigue at Cold Shivers Point

To say this aloud is to commit an act of sacrilege, at least in the eyes of those who discourage law-breaking in national parks: I find graffiti fascinating, particularly the inscriptions at Cold Shivers Point in Colorado National Monument.

I know from my previous reporting about the monument, there's a good chance that if the law may be broken (drugs, sex, graffiti, etc.) at the monument, there's more than a slight chance it happened at Cold Shivers Point. Why? Cold Shivers Point looks over a precipitous canyon 2,000 feet above and only a few miles away from downtown Grand Junction, where it's easy access for, err, a late night rendezvous with a fantastic view. Early one morning a few years ago, some friends of mine and I found a suicide victim at Cold Shivers Point. On a morning bike ride (and 2,000 vertical-foot climb) to the high point of Rim Rock Drive, we'd stopped at Cold Shivers to catch our breath. We felt a cold shiver, indeed.

If only the rocks at Cold Shivers Point could talk. They'd have some titillating and tragic stories to tell.

And they do: Graffiti is scrawled across the rocks, first loves and evidence of passings-by literally etched into stone. Every one of those people committed an ugly crime serving only to deface the wonders of the wilderness, create an eyesore out of a magnificent natural wonder and provide curious visitors like me with at least an hour of entertainment searching for stories carved into rock.

Criminal? Yes. Endlessly interesting? Of course.