Naturita to Durango

Rimrocker Trail runs 160 miles from Moab, Utah to Montrose, Colorado. We followed the last 50 miles or so, from Nucla to Montrose. The trail is basically a dirt road, and even the Houser Cutoff, marked as “more rugged,” was not very rough at all. But the views were great! In some spots, we could see forever – beautiful blue grey mountains in the distance. In other places we were surrounded by Aspens or wildflowers.

Who knew a fly could be pretty?

We did get the car fairly dirty… I liked how the mud highlighted the Suburban’s lettering.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison – we drove past it on our way to Naturita, and wanted to spend some time there. After our run on the Rimrocker, we drove on to the Black Canyon. It was far more interesting than I had imagined!

The name is supposedly from the fact that parts of the canyon receive only 33 minutes of sunlight per day. Duane Vendenbusche says in his book, Images of America: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, “Several canyons of the American West are longer and some are deeper, but none combines the depth, sheerness, narrowness, darkness and dread of the Black Canyon.”

As the light shifts, the shadows reveal different aspects of the huge canyon.

The canyon is very deep, and makes the Gunnison River below seem small. I love seeing the different layers in rock walls, but usually those are seen in pretty much horizontal strata. The Black Canyon has plenty of horizontal strata, but also areas where they run vertically! Looks like flood damage to me!

Have to picture the fascinating figures formed by dead wood.

The trails on the canyon’s rim had many signs identifying the vegetation, so I will include a few here to make it sound like I know all this stuff…

Indian Ricegrass

I’m still looking for a name of this last plant… but it is fascinating, with spiral seeds that obviously flex and bend with atmospheric changes to plant themselves. [I have been informed this is Mountain Mahogany- thank you Giny!]

By the end of the day, it was hot and we were tired!

But the lighting just kept getting more interesting…

The trip back to Naturita presented an amazing sunset.

It was late when we got back… We refueled at a Co-op in Nucla, and the sky was so beautiful I had to shoot it!

Naturita is a very small town… here is the town hall, to prove my point.

Moving on from Naturita, I hoped to stop for a while at the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. On the map it looked huge, even larger than Mesa Verde. The internet told of thousands of Anasazi ruins – and a greater density than found anywhere else. The visitor center was closed, but there were still things to see. So we plugged it into the GPS, and were lead down a dirt road… for what seemed forever! We finally decided we’d unhook the car and use it to further explore the dirt road, thinking there was no way this really headed to a National Monument. Well, it did! But only to the trail head where we could hike into the huge park. We didn’t feel like doing that, so we will save this monument for another visit.

Our campsite in Durango, (actually nearby Bayfield) is absolutely gorgeous! A far cry from our last place… flowers growing everywhere, a little stream just across from us, and a huge “front yard.” Bayfield Riverside RV Park, if you’re interested…

Just across the road is a small park with a walking path beside a nice little stream. Great for walking and birding!

The main point of our stay in Durango was that both our daughters and their families were going to meet us here. They rented a house not too far from our campsite. As they were driving from across the country to join us, we emptied a grocery store to stock up the house. We had the back of the Suburban full, and the back seat as well! Just as we finished unloading the food, Loren and Karen showed up… and just as we finished unloading their luggage, Kevin and Becky arrived! In other words, we all converged, from across the continent, within a 30 minute period! Cool!

A huge Elk guards the interior of the house, and live Deer monitor the outside. We saw plenty of Deer and their cute little Fawns right outside the doors!

So here is the gang, ready for next week’s adventures!

[Note: while the house, and even the yard, is decorated with antlers, those Peter are sporting are plastic]

One comment

  1. Beautiful views of the canyon, river, etc. Great to have the families meet you there for a few days! Have fun!!

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