Monday, October 10, 2011

Trip update-Day 4

So, The day dawned clear!  Snow totals where I was 6-8inches-and there was about that much on my truck.  I headed west again on US 24.  First stop, not far down the road at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.  It was chilly enough that my long-sleeved shirt and fleece jacket were not warm enough!  You would never know that once this was the home of a giant redwood forest!  The fossils look like this:
Apparently there is a whole field of these stumps but the snow made them impossible for me to see and the National Parks Service is unhappy when you wander off their paths!  Also on the site is the Hornbeck Homestead.  Everyone knows that I love the places people used to live!
Heading west again I cross Wilkerson Pass (9502ft) heading down the west side I run into heavy fog.  The grass and trees are all iced by the fog and visibility is low so I'm careful-this kind of weather sends the wildlife to lower elevations and I know first hand what hitting a deer does to your car!  Soon I see whole herds of antelope, not on the road though.   Hit the second pass of the day, Trout Creek at 9487 ft. then I turn south looking for US highway 50 at Salida.  There I head west through the third (and highest) mountain pass of the day, Monarch at 1131 ft.  The snow comes and goes depending on my elevation but it's obvious they didn't get as much as further east.  On the west side of Monarch you travel through South Park.  It's a huge valley, where it gets really cold in the winter.  My brother, Jim, went to college in Gunnison and it is often the coldest place in the lower forty-eight. The great thing about driving through open country is watching the play of shadow and light from the clouds on the ground.  The bad thing is you can get really bored!

Next up : Curecanti National Recreation area there is a very big lake, Blue Mesa all along the side of the road.  Not too many people out there fishing, a few boats out, some campers, it is late in the season though.
Some pics from along the way.

From the dam here you go down, a lot- you really get the feeling of having been on a hanging valley.  My last stop of the day was Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park  (saw a fox on the way up).  This is not a place for a person (me) with vertigo!  Beautiful though

Making my way on down the road to Montrose a tired girl checked into a hotel for the night.


Karen said...

Oh, a fabulous trip!

a good yarn said...

It's a land of incredible contrasts, fascinating history and extraordinary natural wonder. Wish I was travelling with you! ann :-)