Friday, June 14, 2019
Montrose - Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Our last day in Grand Junction was pretty low key. We went to the Dianosaur Museum, which was almost across the road from our RV park. I guess we are still kids at heart.
Craig was also facinated by the sight of the Colorado River almost overflowing its banks. It too was very nearby the Monument RV Park in Fruita.
Then, on Wednesday, it was time to drive south to our next stop, a Jellystone Park in Montrose, CO. Because it was only an 80 mile drive, I had plenty of time to prepare one of my favorite comfort foods, stuffed red and yellow peppers when we got there. The first night it is good, and there is always more than enough for a second dinner.
When I was making our plans for this summer, I wanted to go to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I had a litle trouble finding a place to camp. The campgrounds in the park did not seem to have available spaces for motorhomes, and the few closer RV parks that were listed online, had mostly long term renters. They are not always the most desirable places.
We ended up at Jellystone RV park, eight miles South of Montrose. It is about 26 miles from the South Entrance to the National Park.
On Thursday, I packed our lunch and we went off to see what we could see. I was feeling better, but Craig started coughing, so we took it easy. Just driving, only short hikes to the overlooks.
We drove the Rim Drive and stopped at almost all of the 12 view points. Most required only a short walk to the overlook. The ones we skipped required more walking and it was hard for me to breathe at altitude.
The Black Canyon was carved by the violent waters of the Gunnison River over millions and millions of years.
At every view point we were awed by the dramatic rock walls. The power of water, wind and time is amazing.
This rock cliff, called the Painted Wall, is the tallest cliff in Colorado. If the Empire State Building was stood at its base, it would only be half as tall.
Signage at one of the overlooks explained why the two sides of the canyon were so different. The erossion of the rock faces carved out by the river are effected by the different amount of sunshine each receives.
It is called the Black Canyon because of the dominant color of the rock walls, but in places you can see lighter striations caused when another type of rock oozed up through the cracks while in the molten form and cooled there. This took place when they were both far below the surface of the earth.
We also drove down the East Portal Road which goes all the way down to the river.
Although the road was paved, it was still quite curvy and descended at a 16% grade. We were glad there was not much traffic and we drive a Jeep.
I think it was a very nice day. Our travels are starting well and we are both very happy that we are still living the full time RV life after six years. We have no time to be sick, so we have to recover quickly.
Life is good.