I’ve been to a some places that are beautiful, mysterious, and just plain amazing. But never in my life have I seen a place as magnificent as the Black Canyon. I’m going to tell you right now, my pictures don’t even come close to reality. I’m not sure any could.
I rode up to the first lookout, parked my bike and walked up to it. I’m not kidding you, when I first saw it, it literally took my breath away and I let out a gasp. As I took it all in, it actually made me tear up a little. I don’t know why, it just hit me hard in the chest. It’s depth, it’s canyon walls are like nothing I’ve seen before.I think the characteristics that make it so intriguing are it’s depth (2,500 feet) and how narrow it is at points (only 40 feet across at the narrowest point).
It gets it’s name from not only the color of it’s sheer black walls, but also some parts of the canyon are so deep that it only gets 33 minutes of sunlight per day.
No matter which point you view the canyon from, you can always hear the roar of the Gunnison River from 2,500 feet up.
There are 12 look-out points along the road, some require a 600 ish yard hike to the look out point. Here is one of the trails to a look out point.If you go, don’t skip any of them, they are all breath-taking. My favorite was the Painted Wall.
The light colored veins you see in the rock is pegmatite. About 60 million (yes-million) years ago molten rock squeezed upward into fissures, making the Painted Wall look as it does.
This is also when the Gunnison Uplift happened. This basically raised the canyon’s rock from deep in the Earth’s basement. Then about 2 million years ago, it was formed by the Gunnison River cutting though it with flood water force from surrounding mountain ranges. I forgot the measurement they said, but the rock is worn down every 100 years about the width of a human hair. So…pretty slow.
It was cloudy all day and rain was coming, but I managed to see all 12 view points. When I got to the very last one, a downpour hit hard. The wind picked up so strongly, I thought it was going to knock my bike over.
A sweet couple from Ohio were in their RV and waved me over to come in out of the rain. Their names were Dan and Donna.
They asked me about my travels and had many questions about that. I asked about theirs too and they told me about some sketchy moments they had with their RV in the mountains of Colorado. I now have a new respect for RV drivers. It’s not easy!
The rain started to let up and Donna would not let me go without offering me a banana and some water for my trip. Really nice people and I was glad to have met them. When I got out of the RV, we saw this:
After that, I pointed the Bonnie south and headed back to my little cabin in Ouray. I did hit some rain, but nothing too bad.
As I rode home in the chilly air, I thought about my day and just how stunning it was. It really had quite an effect on me. I’ll never forget it and I can’t wait to go back again someday-hoping to take Beste there to see it.
This morning I said goodbye to Colorado. While I am ready to head home, my heart was heavy to leave this place. I will be back though, and look forward to exploring more of it.
I took one last parting shot of my little cabin by the creek. Goodbye, and thanks all for following along with my travels.