Thursday, July 02, 2015

Standing on the Brink

I had to take a brief hiatus in blogging thanks to a wonky internet connection the last 3 days of the trip, so I hope I remember things well enough to report the remainder of our outings.

After leaving Ouray, we headed to the Gunnison area and on the way we stopped to explore the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  Back when I first visited this lovely place, it was a National Monument, but it has since been promoted to a full-fledged National Park.

Mother insisted I visit Black Canyon on my first visit to Colorado and I've never failed to stop by for at least a few of the highlights on every trip.  It's funny, I've seen the Grand Canyon in person and I've not really had any desire to return for a second visit, but I try not to miss Black Canyon.
First overlook inside Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Gunnison River cuts through the canyon way, way down there.
There are about a dozen overlooks through the park and there are two rim drives if you crave more than that.  Each overlook spotlights a particular feature or view, each requires a hike of a few hundred feet down a rocky path to the canyon edge, and each rewards your efforts in making the trek with a spectacular view.

David and a little bit of Karen at the Cross Fissures Overlook
We got lucky and caught an entertaining Ranger presentation at Cedar Point Lookout and learned about some of the native plants.  
David (right) and Karen (down front) listen to the Ranger talk about giant sagebrush.

The day was very warm, but somewhere along the way we made the decision to walk down to every overlook.  (We decided to skip the Warner Point hike, which is the last one and not quite so scenic, as we knew from having made that hike before.)  As the day got warmer and we got tireder, it took quite a bit of determination to keep to our goal, but we did get it done.  We were panting from the altitude and guzzling water, but we made it.
The View from Cedar Point
One of the favorite stops, which could not possibly be missed, was Dragon Point Lookout, which was always a favorite of Mother's.  My favorite twisted juniper is still standing sentinel.

A slight recreating of a photo from the first trip to Black Canyon.
And we had to see the Painted Wall again.
Standing in front of the Painted Wall.
David did his usual death defying poses.
David perched on a rock with a sheer drop on the other side.
(It wasn't quite as reckless as it looks.)
I was beginning to really flag by the time we reached the last two outlooks, but I did make them.  After we finished the last hike and headed toward Gunnison and the Three Rivers Resort that was to be our home for the next 3 nights, I napped along the way and almost missed the Blue Mesa Reservoir.  We stopped briefly along the way to eat Italian food and then settled into our cabin.  That is a whole 'nother chapter.  For now I'll just say that I would love to have one just like it on a burbling river somewhere.  I would spend all my weekends there


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