Canyon Session at Colorado National Monument

Words | Jessica Moran

Colorado‚Äôs western slope is the wild cousin of the Rocky Mountains. The Colorado National Monument rests just past Grand Junction, where the mountains begin to fade the high desert begins to appear. It is a place of towering monoliths, vast plateaus, and deep red-rock canyons that carve into the earth’s crust. 

I had recently begun following Dakota on her Instagram account, Hike Grand Valley, which features excellent hikes and tips for the Grand Junction and Fruita area. I reached out to see if she and her husband, Logan, would be interested in meeting for a sunrise photo session at the Monument. She agreed and we hashed out the details.

It was a brisk Spring afternoon in March when Brian and I arrived at the Monument.  We cruised up the winding Rim Rock Drive, a 23 mile drive that follows the upper rim of a series of canyons. I felt like a child, ready to explore all the cliffs edges and hiking trails, open-mouthed and wide-eyed as we traced every turn in the road. We pitched our tent at the Saddle horn  Campground and snuggled as cocoons that evening in our sleeping bags as sounds of wind and rain occasionally whipped our tent. 

We woke super early the next day.  The night sky and moon accompanied us as we brewed coffee and prepped our photography gear.  We met Dakota and Logan at the Book Cliffs for the sunrise.

Dakota runs her own graphic design business, Dakota Hunt Studios. Logan works for the local law enforcement in GJ. He had worked a night shift the day prior to the session, yet he still graciously appeared to romp around the cliffside with Dakota as the sun rose.  It is such an honor and so much fun to work with a couple that opens up their love to us and has a deep passion for the earth as we do. After we finished up our session we joined Dakota and Logan for breakfast at Camillas in Fruita.

Colorado National Monument is a grand and beautiful documentation of the earth and all of its wonders. It is the perfect place for an adventurous small wedding or elopement in Colorado.

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