Saturday, September 12, 2015

Beauty of the Western Slope

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GUNNISON RIVER

There is so much to see of the beauty of the area that we just could not get to it all but the parts we went to were wonderful.  The Gunnison River was one of the major rivers that run through the area and we ran into everywhere.  When we first got there the river was really high from all the run off and rain that the area was getting.The Gunnison River is the fifth largest tributary of the Colorado River and runs164 miles long.  The Ute Indians lived by, on, and in some cases because of the Gunnison.  There are three locations along the Gunnison in which dams exist and reservoirs exist supplying water for crops, recreational purposes, and electric; they are the Blue Mesa Reservoir, Morrow Point, Reservoir, and Crystal Reservoir.  The Gunnison also runs through the Black Canyon, which is one of the longest, narrowest, and deepest gorges in the world. 

 

Gunnison River in the Black Canyon

BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON

We were told as we were making our travels to be sure to see Canyon land as it was just at neat as the Grand Canyon.  Well I must say it was nice but if anything comes close to the marvel of the Grand Canyon it is the Black Canyon.  Fred and I both were in amazed by the Black Canyon and it beauty.  The history behind the discovery of the canyon and how it was developed is interesting.  There are numerous overlooks, three campgrounds, lots of hiking and some great places for fishing throughout the area.  If you truly want to see the beauty of the canyon you need to explore both the north and south rim.  The two rims do not connect so you have toPainted Wall enter the south rim from Montrose off Hwy 50 and to get to the north rim from Crawford off Hwy 92.  Each person you talk to tell you the other side is better than the other, but you really need to see both and judge for yourself.  This canyon is so deep, sheer and narrow that in spots sunlight does not reach the bottom.  Hope you enjoy our pictures

COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT

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The Colorado National Monument is another place very unique in its own way.  My cousin told us about this place as he had fond memories as a kid going here to Devil’s Kitchen with his family Picnic area at Devil's Kitchenand having picnics and we went to check it out.  This place was was a dream of a man named John Ott who in 1907 fell in love with the area and it became to him “the heart of the world”.  He started promoting for the place to become a national park and in 1911 his dream came true.  He was appointed as the caretaker of the park which he did until 1927 for a $1 a month.  The park itself is has wonderful views, grand landscapes and is a 23  mile rim drive.  There are again numerous hiking trails throughout and only one campground.  Backcountry primitive camping is allowed with a permit which can be obtained at the visitor center.  Great place to visit, bring a picnic lunch with you and enjoy a wonderful day.’'

GRAND MESA

The Grand Mesa the largest flat-topped mountain in the entire world and stretches for about 40 miles  east of Grand Junction between the Colorado River and the Gunnison River.  Hwy 65 starting south in Cedaredge is one of the most scenic drives we have taken on the Western Slope.  The terrain changes a lot in landscape, climate and vegetation.  There are lakes everywhere there is some of the best fishing in the area can be found.  We took the complete 40 mile drive but did not go up to the Grand Mesa Lodge as it was a rainy day and the road up is dirt, therefore it was muddy.  The drive through on SH 65 was simply amazing!

Wildflowers were in bloom and we saw a lot of wildlife but I just was not always quick on the camera so did not get a lot of the pictures I would have loved to have gotten.

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As we reached the top with an elevation a little over 11,000 we found Powderhorn, one of the most notable skiing area of Colorado.  I was closed for the summer months so we did not get to drive in. 

 

 

 

 

As we reach the bottom and connected back with I-70 to Grand Junction we found the Colorado River and the dam.  A drive in the area you really would love to take.

Hope you enjoy the other pictures of our drive.  It was a great day!!