Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP

We arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison and it was like a cloud was sitting at the top on the canyon. We went into the visitors center and watched a 20 minute video and came out to snow on the ground. And the car!!! More snow, seriously?It was really coming down. We drove the roads of the park to get the lay of the land. Along the drive we sang Christmas songs, it was very fitting. The snow was coming down pretty fast now and the roads were getting covered. Thankfully the jeep is a 4×4 and has a snow setting so we were all good. We pulled off at some of the scenic overlooks but didn’t want to walk out if we weren’t sure where the ground actually was. The spring wildflowers were all covered in a blanket of snow. 
Mom hopped out to clean beneath the wiper blades and said the front of the car was frozen. Sure enough, it was a giant sheet of ice! We called it a day and headed to the campground, which had ZERO snow due to the lower elevation. The next morning we took another crack at Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We have declared that it is our new favorite National Park! The geology and geography was stunning. Two billion years ago the Gunnison River carved the canyon through precambrian metamorphic and igneous rocks. We went on a geology hike with a ranger. He used to be a college geology professor and was impressed with my knowledge of rocks and ecology. We saw gneiss, schist and pegmatite intrusions in the rocks on the hike. We learned about the layers of the canyon, depth and and composition. If you listened really carefully you could hear the Gunnison River raging below. Much calmed than in the past due to the dams up river. E and I were chosen to demonstration the mountain building events in the area and how the rivers carved the canyon. The views were absolutely spectacular! We hiked out to every viewpoint. Most were relatively short walks but some were near a mile. We had a blast looking in all the “potholes”. These areas in the rocks above provide a water source for local animals. Don’t tell anyone that E and I were being super nice to each other. The nature brings out the best in us. Emmerson went crazy taking photographs! Mom too!
What an amazing time we had at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison!
We got our Jr Ranger badges and sadly had to say goodbye to the canyon! We did stop down at the river for some hiking but the water had washed out the trail. We started to forge a new path over rocks hoping to find the trail but no luck. We did find this cute little garter snake hiding amongst the rocks. The river was running green. We didn’t get a clear answer as to why but assume it was something in the rocks breaking down with the melting snow. Maybe similar to why some of the lakes in Canada were a greenish blue. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *