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At right is Independence Monument, a 450' monolith first climbed by John Otto in the early 1900s.  Climbers can easily reach...
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Milky Way over the Monument

Colorado National Monument, Colorado, 2013

At right is Independence Monument, a 450' monolith first climbed by John Otto in the early 1900s.  Climbers can easily reach the base via a 2.5-mile hike from a trailhead near the east entrance to the Colorado National Monument.  After hiking that trail myself just before sunset in mid-October, I scrambled up a small hillside to get this perspective of Independence and waited for the stars to emerge as the sun's light faded for the day.  The front lighting on Independence, the Kissing Couple (left), and the surrounding cliffs is from the city lights of Grand Junction. Photo © copyright by Greg Owens.

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