We were heading west to the mountains and deserts of Colorado and Utah. Our new to us Lance 1995 travel trailer and GMC Yukon tow vehicle were acquired primarily, or so we thought, to explore and photograph the natural wonders of Florida for two months each winter. But now in the high plains of eastern Colorado where interstate 70 finds little reason to alter it’s course we were to encounter the first bit of “exciting” western scenery. In a place where the all encompassing sky and the land meet at an uninterrupted horizon, a wall of black clouds as far a the eye could see presented a seemingly impenetrable barrier between us and the small half ghost town of Siebert which was to be the day’s destination. Crawling along into the “wall”, with heavy rain and some hail pounding the car and fragile plastic vents and other pieces on the trailer’s roof, we passed cars stopped by the side of the road and even one or two that had found the ditch. Then almost as quickly as it began it was over, fortunately having sounded much worse than it turned out to be.
As we left Siebert the next morning what appeared to be relatively new grain elevators attested to the fact that someone in the town, who’s center is now comprised largely of abandoned sun bleached weathered storefronts, must be making some money. About seven hours later, after crossing the continental divide at Monarch Pass, a task that severely tested our until now very competent tow vehicle, we arrived in Montrose, Colorado about six miles from the entrance to The Black Canyon of The Gunnison NP.
Since no one in our party was in shape for extended hikes into the interior of the park or a 2000 foot near vertical descent into the canyon our exploring would be done by driving to trailheads and doing less ambitious day hikes to points of interest. Even so the trails ranged from easy to moderate in difficulty with the 8000 feet elevation contributing to the difficulty for us usually near sea level hikers.
Below are some pictures that we felt in a very limited way captured the essence of the park. To really do such a place justice would take many more years than we have.
The canyon rim:
Along the river:
There were an interesting variety of critters as well as wild flowers along the park trails. While we saw birds they were much more dispersed than what we are used to in central Ohio.
As we left western Colorado and headed for Arches NP we couldn’t help but wish for just a few more days to explore the canyon and surrounding area but have the suspicion that no matter how long our stay we would always want just a few days more. Thanks for stopping by.
On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Central Ohio Nature wrote:
> centralohionature posted: ” We were heading west to the mountains and > deserts of Colorado and Utah. Our new to us Lance 1995 travel trailer and > GMC Yukon tow vehicle were acquired primarily, or so we thought, to explore > and photograph the natural wonders of Florida for two months ” >
Thanks Sandra, oops to a couple of text screwups in the original post!
What a great place! Wonderful pictures. Would love to go there.
If you love rocks you would love this place. It has inspired me to increase my knowledge of geology!
The collared lizard was almost as beautiful as the views.
Beautiful captures, love that colorful lizard!
Hi, Just returned from Utah and one of my targets while there was Pinyon Jay. I was drawn to your post because it mentioned Pinyon Jay. In looking at your great photos I found a couple were mislabeled. The bird you have identified as a Scrub Jay appears to be a Townsend’s Solitaire. Note the complete eyering and the thrush-like bill.
The Pinyon Jay is actually a Scrub Jay. Note the gray breast with a bluish collar coming down onto the upper flanks, the white line above the eye and the very long tail. Pinyon would be pretty much all blue on the underparts, would lack the white above the eye and the tail of Pinyon is much shorter than all other jays.
Still, great photos and you did way better on reptiles than I did. We had some very cold weather and I was surprised that I saw any lizards at all!
Loved the skippers;-))
I think the aster might be Glaucous Aster. It reminded me of Smooth-blue Aster which we have in the east. But, I’m a bird guy, not a plant guy;-))
Thanks Denis, I’ll double check and make the necessary corrections. Try as we may, at times it’s still easy to misidentify birds, especially if they’re not normally seen on our home turf.