Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Another one of those National Parks that I didn’t know existed until a few days ago was our objective for the day.  That was, after I finished the wonderful Agatha Christie novel The Secret of Chimneys (Kindles are great for traveling).  The Black Canyon was about ninety minutes’ drive SE of Grand Junction & we were pleased to leave behind the rain & see it dry out a bit.  From the town of Montrose, you drive up to about 2400m & after entering the park on top of what is not a particularly wide hill, there is all of a sudden a very deep but skinny canyon off the side of the road.

The canyon has the best combination of deepness, steepness & narrowness in the continent & it really is quite impressive. Carved out of hard rock by the fast-flowing Gunnison River (which flows on to the Colorado at Grand Junction), the canyon floor loses more elevation in forty-eight miles than the Mississippi does in its entire length (1550 miles). I thought we’d skip the Visitor Center to start with to make the most of the break in the weather. I was wrong, within ten minutes we were being snowed on heavily.

Consequently, we went back to the Visitor Center & had a quick look around & waited for the weather to clear. For the next hour or so, we drove around the South Rim dodging the snow, & then rain, taking in various vantage points. Besides the spectacular canyon, the highlight was seeing my first bobcat skulking off in to the bushes a few metres away from the trail. We got a better view of it a few minutes later as we were driving down the road – they are smaller than I, for some reason, thought. Unfortunately, no photo. Here are few more pictures of different parts of the canyon for those interested. While the clouds & rain can get a bit annoying at times, they do add a bit of a different atmosphere to the scenery.

These stripes in the rock were neat – formed by molten lava infiltrating cracks in the rock that was already there many moons ago.

Now I’m going back to a Poirot – the first in a while.

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