Saturday, September 6, 2008

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

I knew that other than the trip to the train station, this was going to be my last day trip in Colorado. It was close to Montrose so we waited until Bass Man finished work for the day and all 3 of us climbed into the car for the trip.

The road to the top of the canyon was climbing but not too curvy. Once on top of the plateau it began to follow the curves of the rim. Descending into the canyon itself was another s, n, o, p, q curve adventure (surprise!).

Lining the road are posts that are approximately 10' tall. Their purpose is to keep the snowplows from driving over the edge in the winter. Who in their right mind would want that job?

At the bottom is the Gunnison River which is responsible for the entire canyon. Due to the addition of 3 dams, the river is calmer than it was during the formation. It is still considered dangerous and anyone who is less than an experienced rafter is discouraged from traversing it. At its narrowest point, it is only 40' across.

Sometime this year a boulder had tumbled down the hill and landed on the road by a rest area. The force of the falling rock broke the road in half. It was still there on the busted pavement.

After exploring by the river we headed back up to the visitor center. There I got to see my first marmot (stuffed unfortunately), learn about the Gunnison tunnel (dedicated by President Taft, it supplies water to Montrose), and buy stuff at the GIFT SHOP (my nirvana). Until that point in time, I had lived my entire life without a Black Canyon refrigerator magnet! I can cross that off my 'to do' list now.

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