Colorado National Monument

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Colorado National Monument (locally referred to as “The Monument“) is a National Park Service unit near the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone, and even granite–gneiss–schist, rock formations.

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When John Otto first saw the rugged red rock canyons south of Grand Junction in 1906, it was love at first sight. The following year he wrote:

“I came here last year and found these canyons, and they feel like the heart of the world to me. I’m going to stay and build trails and promote this place, because it should be a national park.”

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The area was established as Colorado National Monument on May 24, 1911. Otto was hired as the first park ranger, drawing a salary of $1 per month. For the next 16 years, he continued building and maintaining trails while living in a tent in the park.

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Otto spearheaded fundraising campaigns, collected signatures for petitions, and penned newspaper editorials and endless letters to Washington politicians in support of national recognition for the ancient canyons and towering monoliths of his adopted home.

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This is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests on the plateau.

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There are magnificent views from trails and the Rim Rock Drive, which winds along the plateau.

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Nearby are the Book Cliffs and the largest flat-topped mountain in the world, the Grand Mesa.

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The park became more well known in the 1980s partly due to its inclusion as a stage of the major international bicycle race, the Coors Classic. The race through the park became known as “The Tour of the Moon”, due to the spectacular landscapes the race passed through on Rim Rock Drive.

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Just another Dharma Bum day at the office!

Is Work “Unnatural”?

Lazy Man

Man Calls Work “Unnatural” – Goes on Permanent “Vacation”

From the blog: Return To Now  www.returntonow.net

“I’m not ashamed that I don’t like to work,” a 35-year-old cyclist adventurer told Business Insider two years ago. “It’s just very unnatural.”

Not too unlike Alexander Supertramp, “Ultra Romance” has rejected the capitalist industrialist system he was born into and gone Into the Wild.
He “works” (or plays) as a fishing guide on his dad’s charter boat back home in Connecticut about six months a year and travels the world by bicycle for the rest, living on about $10 a day.

“Benedict” (another name he calls himself for “tax reasons”) is not sure how much money he makes (he refuses to count it), but says he can live comfortably on about $10,000 a year. He keeps most of his cash buried in plastic bags and keeps a bank account only so he can buy and sell bicycle parts on eBay.

“I went to college and got the degree and was trying to … do the hustle right out of college,” Benedict told Business Insider. “Then it was like, I gotta get a house, I’m 24, I got all these student loans … Before you know it, things work out and you meet the right girl and you settle down and buy the house and have the mortgage payment and the cars.”

“But ultimately that was not going to be me.”

 

“I don’t like to work. I like to ride my bike and I like to camp … I’m not going to spend the best years of my life doing something completely meaningless.”

Instead Ultra Romance decided to model his life – in part – after hunter-gatherers, who he says took an average of 9 hours a week to procure everything they needed to live. “The rest was all leisure time,” he said. “This is what’s natural to us.”

 

“Paperwork and bills don’t work for me,” he said in the interview. “They were a big stressor in my life.”

So he eliminated them. He pieced together a bike and hit the road.

It took Benedict about six years to figure out the right work/play balance to support his ideal lifestyle. He’s not into budgeting, but says as long as there’s money in his bag he knows he “must be doing something right.”

“I don’t think too far into the future,” he says. “I think day by day.”

Benedict likes to “maximize relaxation” when he’s on the road (or trail). “I have no real goal. I just ride. It’s riding, setting up a hammock, taking a siesta, and chilling out.”

 

He prefers sleeping outside, sleeping indoors for only about two weeks per year.

 

As a mostly vegetarian nutrition major, Benedict has no problem feeding himself. He loves foraging for berries and “nutrient-dense weeds” and gets whatever he can’t find – including loads of yogurt and dark chocolate – at Whole Foods.

 

“If I’m near the coast I can get seaweed and crabs,” he said.

Without a mortgage, car payment or other bills, Benedict has been able to bike-tour beautiful landscapes all over the world, from Norway to New Zealand. Sometimes he rides alone, sometimes he rides with friends – old and new.

 

What inspired the name Ultra Romance remains a mystery. It could be the woman he almost settled down with before he broke free from civilization, the woman he currently wanders with, or his adventurous life in general (including all the women in between).

 

What is not a mystery is how much fun he is having.

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Dharma Bum Diaries