We spent all of the second day driving from Durango to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We had driven the road from Durango to Silverton before, and we had taken the old train as well, but it’s spectacular every time.
Silverton is where the truly awesome Rockies begin. It’s an old mining town where they’ve left the two main streets unpaved.
The rails from the mines in the mountains into town are still there.
Now it has lots of restaurants and tourist shops, but it’s still charming.
From Silverton on out was uncharted territory for all four of us. The road was like you expect a road through the Rockies to be: steep on both sides and breathtaking beauty around every bend.
We drove through Ouray, which looked like it was worth spending time in, but we didn’t, since we had a lot of ground to cover. Here and there the road comes right out to the edge in the mountains, and in places the soil underneath had eroded, or a boulder had fallen down and made the road break off. Road crews were doing virtually impossible things on the cliff side to shore things up, while cars and our 30-foot rented RV took turns going in both directions on the inside lane. Not a sleep-inducing ride, I can tell you that!
We stopped at practically every scenic overlook, our jaws dropping, and me shooting pictures like crazy.
Montrose was the relatively big town before we got to the Black Canyon, and it’s in the middle of a wide river valley. Driving toward the Black Canyon, we gradually ascended rolling hills of light dirt dotted with stubby sagebrush.I began to wonder how amazing it could possibly be, but I was determined to keep an open mind.
And then there it was, all of a sudden. Oh, now I got it. This was indeed a big deal. It was almost completely dark by the time we parked our RV and started barbecuing. We had been warned that there were bears in the campground, and that they weren’t shy about checking out food smells, so we felt more than a little stupid, barbecuing chicken legs with only a flashlight to see what we were doing, or what anything else was doing, for that matter. But we survived and had our first nice cool night with the windows open. (Except the windows above the kids’ beds, because we were still worried about the bears.)
Stay tuned for much, much more of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.