boy standing on the saddlehorn formation, colorado national monument

The Saddlehorn

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him participate in synchronized diving.”
Cuthbert Soup, Another Whole Nother Story

I imagine that the first Colorado National Monument caretaker, John Otto, had at least a horse or two to his name while he lived and explored here.

John Otto with horse and mule

So it’s no surprise that this prominent sandstone formation was given the name “Saddlehorn”, since that’s probably what it looked like from the angles that he saw it first.

A few weeks ago when Matt and I were taking in the views from every viewpoint, we passed this formation, not for the first time.

But for the first time, I noticed the moki steps going up the side.

I, of course, was all like, “OMGOMGOMGOMG we have to climb up that! I’ll be the view is spectacularous!”

So, knowing my son Timothy’s penchant for climbing, and wanting to show his friend a little adventure, we pulled over and decided to give it a go.

Tim, of course, went right for the very shallow moki steps that allowed the greatest exposure.

He is a daring and fearless chap, after all.

But not 10 yards up I told him to shuffle his little bum down. A mother’s heart can only take so much.

Undetered, we found was was decidedly the more common route…. as indicated by ‘steps’ carved into the rock face as well as a plethora of graffiti [not all of which was from antiquity].

The boys and I stayed aloft whilst Matt roamed the base, and we all came down from it feeling…well… stunned.

It was stunning.

climbing the moki steps on the saddlehorn rock formation

Rider trying to follow Tim up the ‘steps’. You can just see Tim’s hunched back.climbing the moki steps on the saddlehorn rock formation

Can you see the ‘steps’ in the slickrock?MORE grafiti on the saddlehorn formation

A view from the more conventional route. Pretty sure I’ve seen ‘Valdez’ in several places around the monument. boys sliding on the snow

Sliding on frozen snow = a good time.view from the top of the saddlehorn formation, colordao national monument in winter

PANO = STUNNING!Elisa Jones and boys on top of the saddlehorn formation looking toward wedding canyon

Obligatory selfie from the top of the Saddlehorn. Wedding/Monument canyons in the background.two boys climbing the saddlehorn formation

Can you see why this feature is called the ‘Saddlehorn’? boy standing on the saddlehorn formation, colorado national monument

Tim standing on top. One of the more intense moments. “It’s okay, he’s okay, it’s okay, he’s okay…”graffiti on the saddlehorn, colorado national monument

Even MORE graffiti… and some of it as recent as this decade. Elisa Jones standing on the Saddlehorn