Monday, May 31, 2010


Taking advantage of the long weekend, we went camping around the Gunnison area.

Friday morning we packed up and headed out towards Gunnison.Once we got to town, we ate a picnic lunch in a small city park, and made a stop at the visitor's center. We also made a stop into Gene Taylor's outdoors store, which was packed with lots of tempting camping and fishing supplies, but we made it out with only a map of all the public lands in the area. Unfortunately, flows on the rivers and streams in the area were high because of snow melt, so we decided to try out luck by heading north towards the tiny town of Almont. At the Almont Angler's shop I picked up some fishing supplies and chatted with the owner, Mark. On his advice we headed up the Taylor River area, and took the road into Spring Creek. Along the creek are several campgrounds, but primitive camping is also allowed. We picked a nice private spot overlooking the stream and set up camp. Pete cooked dinner on our coleman stove (thanks Mary!), and we enjoyed burgers and fried potatoes before heading out for a little fishing.
No luck fishing, but fortunately the area was beautiful, and we enjoyed the scenery.
We spent the evening around a campfire, admiring the little dipper and the sound of the nearby stream.
Saturday morning dawned COLD, so we packed up shop quickly and headed out for the Gunnison canyon. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park offered beautiful views, but extremely limited access that allowed dogs. We took the Rim Rock trail from the south rim visitor's center, but the trail parallels the road, and wasn't much to speak of except for a few lovely views of the canyon.
(We broke the rules to get this picture of Harvey, taking him off the leash for a minute)

We discovered that the BLM operated a National Conservation Area elsewhere in the canyon, so after getting directions and advice from one of the rangers, we drove to Montrose, CO and visited the Cimmaron Creek fly fishing shop. After a quick stop at City Market to pick up some firewood, we drove to the Conservation Area and made our way to the Duncan trailhead.

The trail is 1.5 miles, and makes its way 840 feet down the canyon to the Gunnison River.

The first mile of the trail was enjoyable, but the last half mile or so was very challenging, where the "trail" consisted of scrambling over rocks and scree along the canyon sides. It was occasionally tricky to distinguish the trail, but we found that cairns consistently showed the way (even if I didn't want to believe them).

Harvey scaled the rocks and technical areas with ease, thoroughly enjoying himself the entire time. After a few slips and a scraped arm on my part, we made it to the bottom of the canyon, which was beautiful.

We ran into a BLM park ranger (Ryan) who was extremely helpful and nice, advising us on camping spots and other areas of the Conservation Area to visit. After an all too short time, we had to start the trek back up the canyon. We made surprisingly good time, scrambling out in an hour and a half. I'm not sure I have ever been so happy by the sight of our dusty xterra.

Although there were lots of opportunities for free primitive camping, no fires are allowed in the Conservation Area, and we didn't want to leave such a long drive home for the next day, so we headed back towards Gunnison, and camped on another spot along Spring Creek. Hot dogs and marshmallows over the campfire were the perfect end to a great day.

Sunday morning was a lazy start, eating oatmeal overlooking the stream valley. Pete got in some more fishing, while I puttered around the camp and enjoyed relaxing in my camp chair. After the tent dried we packed up and drove north to Crested Butte. Lunch at the Brick Oven Pizzaria, and then we headed home.

All in all and awesome weekend, and an area that we can't wait to visit again.

Lots more pictures HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You guys got some great pictures! That area is gorgeous.