Today I tried to be pro-active and book lodging before actually arriving to my destination (what a crazy idea, right?). Well, in this case it worked against me. Booked a hotel in Santa Fe, NM thinking I would have time then ended up at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park about an hour from Grand Junction. Driving up to the park on the entrance road, the distant weather pattern over the mountains quickly became a major threat. No radar activity turned to rain and then to snow quickly. Had to make a judgement call and leave before I could even start. Bad sign when the local news team car is parked nearby.
However, if there is one park I would return to on curiosity alone it would be this one. Maybe it was the dark clouds, but the colors of the rocks starkly contrast any other place I have been. It was so dark and ominous it seemed like an alien planet. The rangers explained some of the hikes then gasped when I told them of my plans to drive to Santa Fe. Word to the wise – don’t even think of driving Monarch Pass when snow is threatening. I got wimpy and took the “scenic” route down 114. Not as pretty when all the leaves have already fallen. Misty rain and 6% grades also make for no fun. Super cool place I would easily drive in daylight.
No time for pics other than quick hitters at the visitor center and first scenic overlook. Had to leave quickly before getting snowed in. Mountains in the distance with white peaks created a very palpable urgency.