Friday, July 29
Sad to leave Ouray, but don’t mind leaving the cold and the wet behind us. Apparently, Ouray is in one of the wettest parts of the state and it’s been a rainy summer, too. Regardless, I’m really glad we visited this town and enjoyed our stay in the comfy and historic Hotel Ouray. From town, we drove north but lower in elevation so it quickly got warmer, sunnier and drier. The goal was a quick day trip into Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, which is about 15 miles to the east of Montrose. After visiting the park, which we also came to see (and camp in) in 2018, head north and east toward Snowmass and Aspen.
When we camped there in 2018, we stayed on the north rim and as is similar for the Grand Canyon, the south is more popular / easier to access and as a result, there are bigger crowds. Nick no like more people. I’m 100% spoiled and freely admit this, but when I go to parks, part of the goal is to get away from lots of people and large crowds. It’s one of the most important and confounding issues for the National Parks: how do you maintain the popularity and keep them open so everyone can enjoy them, while at the same time, manage crowd size? Obviously, these aren’t MY parks, their OUR parks. Still… 😬
Anyway, rant over. Black Gunnison is one of the newer parks, established during the Clinton administration in 1999, but you have to wonder, what took us so long? The canyon’s walls are breathtaking, dizzying, mesmerizing. From the south rim, we were afforded clearer views of the Gunnison River, slicing its way through millions of years of time and rock. Quite literally, you’re looking into the planet’s past.
We did a relatively short hike, the Warner Point Trail, at the far western edge of the south rim, giving us views of the canyon’s end as well as back south and west to Montrose.
I’m glad we made a return trip to this National Park; its beauty is quite remarkable. From the park, we had a 3+ hour drive up to Snowmass, where rest and relaxation are on the agenda! 🙂