Thursday, April 7, 2016

Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado

This place took my breath away...20 years ago and again on this trip. It is magnificent.

And this graphic is amazing! Looking at the canyon and thinking of the Empire State Buildling at half the canyon's height just doesn't compute in my mind.

Here's the canyon with its impressively tall walls. Yet the photographs cannot even begin to capture the amazing majesty of the canyon's depth and complexity, and never mind the numerous side canyons joining the main canyon. The Black Canyon was given its name because it is so deep and so often in shadows the sides of the canyon appear to be black. There are portions of the canyon that see only 33 minutes of sun a day.

We hiked to Morrow Bay Dam and also down the Pine Creek Trail (thanks Leslie for the suggestion) to the Morrow Bay Boat ride loading area. It was too early in the season for the boat ride, but both these hikes were fabulous but we were sorry to miss the boat ride.

Ha ha, "don't turn your back to take a selfie."

We met these two women on the trail head of the Pine Creek Trail, all 232 steps of it, including snow and ice. One woman is from Gunnison and the other Crested Butte. They are forming a new hiking business called: Ramble & Frolic.

And, although called Pine Creek there wasn't a pine in sight.

Yesterday our weather turned to a sudden flurry of snow and wind in the afternoon after a sunny morning hike.

The campground at the main entrance to Black Canyon was open but only for the hardy campers of Colorado.

We camped at Cimarron Camp, about 1000 feet lower than this Black Canyon camp. There was no snow on the ground where we camped, although we could see it on the nearby hillsides. The temperature got down to 16 degrees during the night. This camp must have experienced zero degrees at night, and there they are in tents.


"Colorado and Wyoming are America's highest states, averaging 6,800 feet and 6,700 feet above sea level. Utah comes in third at 6,100 feet, New Mexico, Nevada, and Idaho each break 5,000 feet, and the rest of the field is hardly worth mentioning. At 3,400 feet, Montana is only half as high as Colorado, and Alaska, despite having the highest peaks, is even further down the list at 1,900 feet..."

~ Keith Meldahl
Rough-Hewn Land: A Geological Journey from California to the Rocky Mountains

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a fantastic time of year to visit such an awesome place.