Thursday, August 7, 2014

About That Gunnison and Montrose, Colorado (August 2 - 8)

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello from Montrose, our fourth stop in Colorado!

We left Buena Vista on Saturday morning, arriving in Gunnison in the early afternoon. Gunnison's motto is "the base camp of the Rocky Mountains." It was named after John Gunnison who stayed for three days while scoping out sights for the transcontinental railroad in 1853. The railroad finally arrived in 1880. Fur trappers and miners were a part of the early history of Gunnison.

 Now that we are traveling in the Rockies, Roger is driving the Unity and I follow in the Fiat. It was easy climbing Monarch Pass without towing a vehicle.

While in Gunnison, we took a 28 mile trip to Crested Butte to take a look at the ski area. What a beautiful drive through meadows with lots of wild flowers.

 Crested Butte

We decided to take a hike in the National Forest near Crested Butte. This one, called Meridan Lake Hike, did not disappoint.
 A very steep climb led us to Meridan Lake.

 Bear had no trouble with the height or altitude. He is such a great hiking companion. Bear loves to run down the trail but never gets too far away from us. With this method, he actually doubles what we do on all hikes.

The wildflowers are just a little past their prime.

On Monday we drove to Montrose, also located at the base of the Western Rockies. We are staying at the KOA for eight nights, until next Tuesday. This is a great area for hiking and biking.

Tuesday was a trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Congress made it a national park in 1999.  We were truly amazed at the steep depths of the canyon. There is a north rim and a south rim, without a bridge connecting the two rims. The major entrance is near Montrose. We drove roughly 20 miles to the end of the road, stopping at overlooks along the way. Bear is not allowed to hike on any of the national park trails, but is welcome on the short walks to get to the overlooks.

The Black Canyon
It is very steep in the canyon, thus giving the Black Canyon it's name.

The Painted Wall of the Black Canyon is the most famous overlook.
To give you an idea of how tall it is, the Empire State Building is only half the height of this wall.

Roger and Bear pose in front of the national park sign.

Montrose is considered a high desert area. This town is larger than Gunnison or Buena Vista and we are really enjoying our time exploring Montrose.

On Wednesday we hiked into Spring Canyon, located a few miles from Montrose. The  hike took us from the top of the canyon, down a steep path, that bottomed out. 

Roger at the start of the hike, before we started the hike down to the bottom.

Roger and Bear heading down into the canyon.

The trail was basically dirt with lots of rock scree. Really good technical mountain bikers share this path. Except for two cyclists, we had the hike to ourselves.

A picture of Roger heading back up the canyon.  

On Thursday morning we rode our bikes around the town, taking some roads that led out of Montrose to get some more mileage.

Our son, Rob with his family are driving to Telluride from Dallas on Thursday. They are passing through Montrose and will drop off our grandson, Jackson, for a night in Mimi and Grandad's RV. We look forward to having him with us for one night and then the three of us drive to Telluride to return Jackson to his parents.

Thank you for checking in with us this week. The next blog will feature our week with our family in Telluride, Ouray and Molas Lake near Silverton. 

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