Journalist • Photographer

Bobby Magill is a journalist and photographer based in Port Jervis, NY and Alexandria, Va.

Filtering by Tag: rim rock drive

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.

Rim Rock Drive: The greatest ride in Colorado

FROM MY HOTEL ROOM in downtown Grand Junction, it was eight miles and more than 1,500 vertical feet to Cold Shivers Point at Colorado National Monument. My transportation was my road bike, and the route was Rim Rock Drive — truly one of the greatest bike rides in all of Colorado.

There are others, of course: Mt. Evans, Poudre Canyon, Colo. 141 through Unaweep and Dolores canyons, Trail Ridge Road, the San Juan Skyway and, maybe, Dinosaur National Monument. But Rim Rock Drive is a special case. The redrock sandstone cliffs above and below you give you the dizzying sense that you're flying on your descent — and you nearly are as your bike speeds downhill at 40 mph.

This used to be my morning exercise when I lived in Grand Junction. I'd get up at 5 a.m., point my bike toward the ornate cliffs of the Uncompahgre Plateau, and climb 10 miles from my apartment to Cold Shivers Point, the first overlook at the top of the plateau. Or, I'd just keep going, do the entire route over to Fruita and find my way back home via the Grand Valley's extensive network of farm roads. The whole circuit was a respectable 44 miles (or so).

This week, I was on assignment in Grand Junction, which meant my bike came with me and I'd get up once again at dawn to pay a visit to Cold Shivers Point before the sun began baking the valley.

Here's what the ascent looks like: