What Does ‘Up Valley’ and ‘Down Valley’ Really Mean?
In western Colorado, "up" doesn't always mean up and "down" doesn't always mean down.
When we talk about the Grand Valley, it's possible we are talking about the very same thing in a completely different way. Here's the evidence. We asked the question on Facebook, 'when you tell someone you are going "up valley" or "down valley" what do you mean?'
Most people responding said "up valley" means going east and "down valley" means going west. However, there were some other explanations.
"Up valley is back up the Mesa or to Roaring Fork Valley area, Down valley is coming off the Mountain or headed to the Grand Valley."
"up valley: Glenwood, down valley: Montrose"
"Up to me means north and down mean south"
"Up Valley means to me to Colbran towards Rifle"
Think of it this way. The elevation of Fruita is 4,514, Grand Junction is 4,583, and Palisade is 4,728. So, it would make sense that going from west to east to a higher elevation would mean "up valley."
If you want to bring other communities into the discussion that are not technically a part of the Grand Valley it looks this way.
The elevation of Delta is 4,875 and Montrose is 5,807 so if you are headed to Montrose you're essentially traveling "up valley." The same would be true if you extend the conversation to Rifle and Glenwood Springs, where the elevation is 5,348 and 5,761 respectfully. If you are traveling west from Fruita and Grand Junction you are definitely going up.
So, that's how I see this whole "up valley/down valley" thing. The truth is I don't think there has been a single time in my life when I have used the words going "up valley" or "down valley." Maybe it's time that I start. But, a lot of people do, so let's figure this thing out. What does 'up valley/down valley' really mean to you?