When we woke up the following morning in Rocky Mountain NP, the campground was covered in a thin layer of snow, a sign of things to come. We decided to move on, we didn’t want to get in stuck in the Rockies in the snow. No, we were destined to go to warmer places. So off we went, taking route 40 to the interstate, assuming this would be the fastest way out of the snow. Assume wrong. The many ski area symbols on the map should have been a give-away really. Route 40 takes you over the Berthoud Pass at 11315ft. Guess what, at 11315ft, it gets snowy and over windy and curvy little roads, that makes for an interesting drive. Niels was quite happy when he finally saw the interstate signs. Because, you’d think that the interstate would be an easier drive, right? Wrong again. Only a few minutes onto the interstate and we were driving through what we can only describe as a snow blizzard. Visibility went downhill rapidly, signs on the side of the road were telling truck drivers to put on the snow chains for certain parts. Luckily, snow chains weren’t yet required for other vehicles, but if they would have been, we would have been screwed as Bertie doesn’t have any. This weather went on for a good while, going up to 11910ft at the Loveland Pass and then the route starts to go downhill rather steeply for several miles. There are warnings for truckers about the declines, then warnings not to get cocky as it isn’t over yet and at several point there are these runaway truck lanes that look more like ski slopes.

Finally, things cleared up. At this point we decided not venture further into the mountains and go over more high passes, however “fun” this was, probably best not to seek out more of that kind of fun. But we did decide to go off course somewhat, making those warmer places wait another day (or two as it turned out). I’d been reading in one of my road trip books and thought that the Black Canyon of the Gunnison might be worth a visit. We didn’t quite get there that day, our progress was a lot slower than we had hoped for due to the snow, and Niels didn’t quite feel like a lot of driving anymore that day. So we found this little campground, fairly high up in the mountains of the White River National Forrest. This campground was set in a gorgeous bit of scenery, woods of Aspen trees, that had turned a bright gold with the onset of autumn. And it was free! How nice is that?! There were 2 other sets of campers on the campground that night, we were clearly the only tourist, the other 2 were there for hunting season. So as we sat by our campfire for the evening, for a moment it dawned upon me that here we were in the middle of nowhere, nobody knowing where we are, surrounded by people with big guns. Sleep tight…

After a quiet night, we drove on to our destination of the Black Canyon, it didn’t look that far on the map, maybe 2 hours driving, wishful thinking, it took us more than 3 and half hours. Now, in the beginning, we were quite happy, the scenery was amazing, I couldn’t get enough of those golden Aspen trees and then there was rather amazing mountain scenery. But then it got boring, and the last hour seemed to last forever.

Finally, we made it. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, you better be bloody worth it. And it certainly didn’t disappoint! It was freaking awesome! I don’t think it’s a park that gets a really high number of visitors, which on the one hand is nice so it doesn’t feel overcrowded, but on the other, this is a real little gem they’ve got here. If you ever get a chance to go, take it with both hands! It was so good that we decided to stay the night at their campground. We had a really lovely secluded spot with a lovely view. Another night, another campfire. I’m so loving all of this!

One Response to “Snow storms and black canyons”

  • Mstoad says:

    WOW! It is really beautiful, but winter is acomin, so get your tooshes to warmer climes and be safe. Einstein looks very proud of himself riding shotgun for the 2 of u

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