We love a good tale of commitment and loyalty…especially stories of the wild west. This area did not disappoint. One in particular stood out, the story of, John Otto, a man with a passion for nature and the Colorado Monument, located near Grand Junction, CO. The park was first explored by Otto, a free spirit who settled in Grand Junction in the early 20th century. Dedicated to promoting the area, Otto built trails and sent letters to Washington pleading to bring attention to the canyon and it’s beauty. President William Howard Taft made presidential proclamation to declare the canyons as a 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. Otto started a tradition that continues today, on July 4, 1911 he climbed the 450 foot Independence Monument, located in the park, to plant an American flag. Hundreds of climbers follow Otto’s exact path to the top of Independence Monument each year on July 4th to commemorate Otto’s original climb. Otto married Beatrice Farmham at the base of Independence Monument in 1911. Otto insisted on living in a tent close to his animals which was one reason Beatrice didn’t last more than a few weeks as his wife.
Just down the road from Grand Junction you will find the juiciest peaches one may ever encounter. Sold and shipped everywhere worldwide, Palisade Peaches will literally melt in your mouth. If you see them at a fruit stand, do yourself a favor and try one. Have a napkin handy, they are juicy!
Feeling just peachy,
Eric and Lori