Wednesday, August 24, 2016

2016 Epic Road Trip - Day 101

Day 101

Aug 22, 2016

Another day east.  First stop was Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado.  Sheer cliffs with a river down below, created by erosion over the past couple million years.  It is estimated that erosion cuts through 1 inch per 100 years.  It's also very dark down by the water since the canyon walls keep the daylight out.

At the turn of the last century, the people of Montrose, CO (about 20 miles away) decided that they wanted to use the water running through the canyon to irrigate their arid lands and make them flourish for agriculture.   They were able to cut a tunnel through the canyon and now have lush agricultural land.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Open range cattle in Colorado.  Oh look a cowboy...much too young for me, but there is still hope! 
Upstream from the canyon, the Bureau of Land Management made 3 reservoirs with dams and designated the area as a National Recreation Area.  The water flooded 3 towns and the created lakes are now up to 400 feet deep.  There are 3 separate hydroelectric plants on the water to supply electricity to about 80,000 people and the lakes are used for boating and other recreational purposes.

From there it was up and over Monarch Pass!

Saw what I expect will be the last of the Glaciers on this trip at Wilkerson Pass.

Next stop was Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, one of the world's richest fossil deposits.  Over 50,000 museum specimens from fossils of over 1,700 species (mostly insects and plants), including one of the world's only fossil records of the Tsetse fly, now found only in Equatorial Africa.
Old log house at Florissant.
Beautiful scenery along the way.
Cripple Creek was an old gold mining town, now restored as a tourist resort with western ambiance.

No comments:

Post a Comment