Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Very odd day for weather. I drove a long way from Gunnison to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River and did a hot hike above the canyon. Not long after I got back to Gunnison it was pouring rain and ten degrees colder.

The drive out to the canyon was almost as impressive as the canyon itself, with several reservoirs, mountains everywhere - many with buttes and high craggy rock faces. But it took a long time and what with six miles of dirt road at the end, I was glad to arrive. I had chosen to go to the north rim and it was pretty quiet there. 

I set out on the trail up Green Mountain, stopping at the cutely named Exclamation Point lookout on the way. This was my first chance to see what makes this place special: the amazing steep, high canyon walls and tiny ribbon of river at the base. I was surprised at the absence of guard rails or warning signs, because the drop off was sudden.

The trail didn't allow for any more views into the canyon and it was a bit of a slog in the heat. There was no shade. As I got higher there were good views over the top of the canyon and the upper parts of the canyon walls. I could see cars on the south rim, not far away at all. From the very top you could see a long way in all directions, but what I really wanted to see was the inside of the canyon so I rushed back down.

I drove to several lookouts to check out the canyon. I couldn't see any signs of people going down into it. I was fed up with the oppressive heat so I left.

Yesterday by contrast wasn't particularly warm in the morning when I hiked to a couple of lakes near Monarch Mountain. I hiked up a terrible dirt road in the forest for over a mile to the trailhead, noticing well hidden cabins on the way. From the trailhead I hiked up to Boss Lake where several people were fishing; I saw fish in the shallow water. It was a big lake. Then I continued up to Hunts Lake which was smaller and prettier. There were snowbanks not far from the lake and the surrounding meadow was swampy. The mozzies were unbelievable in their numbers and in the din they made. This made me reluctant to linger. Even here in this out of the way place I was surprised how many other hikers I saw.


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