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Wild Horses and Wildlife of the Western Colorado Rockies

Program Number: 9885RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/20/2014 - 7/25/2014; 7/19/2015 - 7/24/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
Price starting at: $1,025.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature; Natural History
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

Wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West. Explore two trails that often interweave: the biological trail of the horse as a wild animal and its relationship to other wildlife; and, the anthropological trail of the horse as a companion of mankind. Discover free-ranging wild horses in western Colorado, view them in their rugged habitat and learn their history and why the herds are now threatened.




Highlights

• Trace the origins of the horse in North America discovering the amazing story of adaptation and survival in Western Colorado.
• Search for magnificent herds of stallions, mares and colts in their natural habitat.
• Visit little-known Colorado National Monument with its spectacular canyons and rock formations.



Activity Particulars

Walking on uneven terrain, rock/gravel areas, forest floors, and maintained trails for up to two miles at elevations of 5,500-10,000 feet.



Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.




Grand Junction

Grand Junction lies on the northern bank of the Colorado River and at the midpoint of the 30-mile-long Grand Valley, a major fruit-growing region that in recent years has given rise to a number of family-owned wineries. The picturesque scenery surrounding Grand Junction and the city’s mild seasonal fluctuations make golf a popular local activity.



Accommodations
Comfortable motel-style rooms.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Kevin Cook

Kevin J. Cook came to Colorado in 1974 to attend Western State College, where he earned a bachelor’s in biology. He later earned a master’s in wildlife biology from Colorado State University. He spent five seasons as an interpretive naturalist with the National Park Service before establishing himself as a self-employed writer-naturalist. Since 1975, he has published nearly 7,000 pieces of writing and has led nearly 200 wildlife observation groups, half of which have been for Road Scholar.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Quality Inn Hotel and Suites
  Grand Junction, CO 5 nights
 Quality Inn Hotel and Suites
Type: Hotel
  Description: Business and leisure travelers alike consider us their oasis in the high desert country of Western Colorado. Conveniently located just one block off Interstate 70 at Exit 31, our 107 tastefully appointed, comfortable rooms with a broad range of amenities will help you unwind at the end of a hard day.
  Contact info: 733 Horizon Drive
Grand Junction, CO 81506 USA
phone: 970-245-7200
web: www.qualityinngrandjunction.com
  Room amenities: Every room is equipped with microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, iron and ironing board, hair dryer and those easy-on-the-eyes 25 inch tv's with cable programming, including HBO, ESPN and Encore.
  Facility amenities: Free wireless Internet; business center, outdoor heated swimming pool
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call hotel for information Call hotel for reservations and rates
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call hotel for information Call hotel for reservations and rates
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel Check-in: 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Meet 5:45 pm in Lobby for dinner plans followed by required orientation in the Motel Meeting Room. You will be staying at Quality Inn Hotel and Suites that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Check out by 10 AM. You will be staying at Quality Inn Hotel and Suites the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Acknowledge of Risk-Liability Waiver Form to be mailed to the Mountains and Plains Institute Office. Please bring National Parks Senior or Annual Pass
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at motel
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Grand Junction, CO
  Nearest highway: Interstate 70; US 50
  Nearest airport:  Grand Junction Regional (GJT) Walker Field
  From End of Program
  Location: Grand Junction, CO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Grand Junction

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
phone: 970-245-7200
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

No charge
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

1.5 miles

   

Limited service, call hotel for reservations

 
Driving Directions
  Grand Junction by I 70 Hotel is located just south and west off Interstate 70 at Horizon Drive (exit 31). As the major hub between Salt Lake City and Denver, Grand Junction is easily accessible from all directions. By car, we're 7 hours from Albuquerque, 2 hours from Aspen, 10 hours from Phoenix and 4 hours from Denver. The Grand Junction airport (GJT), Walker Field Airport serves major airlines offering numerous daily departures with connecting flights to around the world. From Grand Junction, Amtrak heads west to San Francisco and east to Chicago.
Elevation Note: Elevations from 5,000 to 10,500 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Orientation/Introductions
(Sunday, July 20)
   
 Afternoon: Arrival/check in at hotel is 3 to 5 p.m. Gather in lobby at 5:45 for dinner plans
 Dinner: Restaurant meal at 6 p.m.
 Evening: Introductions, lecture on Learning about and Viewing Wildlife
   
Accommodations: Quality Inn Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Roan Plateau-Wild Horses Habitat
(Monday, July 21)

Note: We search for wild horses on two days of this program. As with all wild animals, the opportunities to view them in the wild is variable. Our instructors will use their best knowledge and experience in locating the herd. The wild horses in this area are remnants of herds that stretch back as far as the early Spanish explorations of the area in the 1600's.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Hotel
 Morning: Travel to Roan Plateau via eastern approach (De Beque) to view area where wild horses live and to find and watch them. Travel will be by van, then by foot to observation locations. In 1971 Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act to protect, manage and control wild horses and burros on public lands. This legislation declares that "...wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people..." You can find colorful hands of wild horses scattered throughout Colorado's four uniquely beautiful wild horse herd management areas. Piceance (Pe-an(t)s) Basin - East Douglas Creek, west of Meeker; Little Bookcliffs, northeast of Grand Junction; Sandwash Basin in the northwestern part of the state; and Spring Creek, southwest of Montrose. The Bureau of Land Management maintains and manages wild horses and burros, in "herd management areas." These areas present unique opportunities for people to view wild horse herds and their habitat.
 Lunch: Bag lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Free for individual pursuits
   
Accommodations: Quality Inn Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Uncompahgre Plateau and Grand Mesa
(Tuesday, July 22)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Hotel
 Morning: Drive the Uncompahgre Plateau then retrace Dominguez-Escalante route of 1776; spectacular views from western rim of Grand Mesa. The Grand Mesa is a large mesa in western Colorado in the United States. It has an area of about 500 square miles (1,300 km2) and stretches for about 40 miles (64 km) east of Grand Junction between the Colorado River and the Gunnison River, its tributary to the south. The north side of the mesa is drained largely by Plateau Creek, a smaller tributary of the Colorado. The west side is drained largely by Kannah Creek, which is received to the west by the lower Gunnison River. The mesa rises about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above the surrounding river valleys, including the Grand Valley to the west, reaching an elevation of about 11,000 feet (3,400 m), with a maximum elevation of 11,333 feet (3,454 m) at Crater Peak. Much of the mesa is within Grand Mesa National Forest. Over 300 lakes, including many reservoirs created and used for drinking and irrigation water, are scattered along the top of the formation. The Grand Mesa is flat in some areas, but quite rugged in others.
 Lunch: Bag lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Free time for individual pursuits
   
Accommodations: Quality Inn Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Dominguez and Escalante Canyons, Colorado National Monument
(Wednesday, July 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Hotel
 Morning: Day long field trip (van and walks) to Dominguez and Escalante Canyons, Colorado National Monument. Colorado National Monument (locally referred to as The Monument) is a part of the National Park Service near the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Spectacular canyons cut deep into sandstone and even granite–gneiss–schist rock formations, in some areas. This is an area of desert land high on the Colorado Plateau, with pinion and juniper forests on the plateau. The park hosts a wide range of wildlife, including red-tailed hawks and golden eagles, ravens, jays, desert bighorn sheep, and coyotes.[3] Activities include hiking, horseback riding, road bicycling, and scenic drives; a visitor center on the west side contains a natural history museum and gift shop. There are magnificent views from trails and the Rim Rock Drive, which winds along the plateau. Nearby are the Book Cliffs, and the largest flat-topped mountain in the world, the Grand Mesa.
 Lunch: Bag lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Free time for individual pursuits
   
Accommodations: Quality Inn Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Roan Plateau-Wild horses
(Thursday, July 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Hotel
 Morning: Travel to Roan Plateau via western approach (county and BLM roads) to view wild horse area again
 Lunch: Bag lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Evening free for reflection, packing, group farewells
   
Accommodations: Quality Inn Hotel and Suites
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departures after breakfast
(Friday, July 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Hotel
 Morning: Independent departures after breakfast
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Colorado Scenic Byways Road Atlas & Travel Guide


Author: Jim Steinberg, Susan Tweit


Description: This book is a guide to the open road, to the opportunities that beckon just around the bend, over the next hill, beyond the far horizon. But not just any open road: this Road Atlas & Travel Guide details the sights and stories of Colorado's 25 scenic and historic Byways, reveals the heart and soul of each route in spectacular photography and insightful essays. These diverse byways shows off the state's extraordinary variety in landscapes and history, from ruler-straight roads traversing the wide-open expanses of the far eastern plains where bison once flowed in herds like dark rivers, to winding routes through rumpled foothills dissected by river canyons and dotted with aspen groves and historic lodges; from bumpy jeep tracks to ascending nose-bleed heights over alpine ridges splashed with summer wildflowers and acid-bright mine tailings; from the surprise of two lanes traversing mountain parks to gravel roads winding between massive walls of red sandstone that hide centuries-old cliff dwellings in the canyon country of the far western edge of the state. This rich network of scenic and Historic Byways shows off Colorado's captivating spaces and lives, both wild and human. Colorado Scenic Byways Road Atlas & Travel Guide is for travelers who prefer winding roads to straight, choose to explore a new route rather than get there fast, are curious enough to stop and read a roadside sign, and marvel at a waterfall, wildflowers or a flock of sandhill cranes high overhead. It is for those who think they know Colorado, as well as those who are new to the state's enchantments. Open these pages, pick a byway at random, and set off on a journey.



Messages in Stone: Colorado's Colorful Geology


Author: Vince Mathews and the Colorado Geological Survey


Description: Introduction to the rocks, structures and geologic history of Colorado. Includes discussion of landforms and geologic hazards. Lavishly illustrated with photographs of Colorado sites and maps. Appropriate for geologists and non-geologists.



The Ute Indians of Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico


Author: Virginia Simmons


Description: Using government documents, archives, and local histories, Simmons has painstakingly separated the often repeated and often incorrect hearsay from more accurate accounts of the Ute Indians.





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