Boulder to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
After returning to Colorado from North Carolina, Eva and I started getting antsy about what was next. We were both waiting to hear back from organizations working on the upcoming November election, but weren't quite sure when we'd hear back, or where we'd be placed if all went well. While waiting, we spent some time hanging out around the Boulder area. Alex hosted us for the first presidential debate, and we met up with a friend of mine from High School to do a quick climb. Thanks Alex and Andrey for showing us some of what the Boulder area has to offer!
After relaxing and waiting for a few days, we decided to make some moves. In the worst case scenario, we'd have to turn around after getting a call and head back to Colorado. With that in mind, we decided to start the trek towards Reno NV via Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. After talking with a store clerk from Pittsburgh, we decided to make a quick stop in Salida along the way.
Salida turned out to be a lovely stop. Nestled in a valley surrounded by 14ers, Salida has amazing views, a great selection of outdoor adventures, and a great art district for its size. Though we only spent an afternoon in town, the feel of Salida makes me want to visit again sometime soon! You could easily spend days or weeks fishing, rafting, running, biking, skiing, etc all around the area.
From Salida, we were still quite a few hours from BCGNP. Along our way we stopped for gas in Gunnison, only to discover that we had a nail in our front left tire! We quickly scrambled to find a shop that was still open, luckily found one, and got our tire patched up before the clock struck five thirty. We rolled into the park well after dark, made dinner, and crashed.
The next morning we got up before the break of dawn and drove into the small park to explore.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is well worth the visit if you're in the area. It only takes a half-day to explore all of the scenic overlooks on the south rim scenic drive. It would make an even more incredible trip if you have the skill/time to do a multi-pitch trad ascent in the canyon. Eva and I were itching to get some climbing in at the park, but both understood that we were woefully ill-equipped to climb anything in the park... At the deepest, the Painted Wall area of the canyon is about 2,250 feet deep, or about as tall as the Burj Khalifa (2,717 ft). Few people climb the big walls here, so there isn't a whole lot of information about the climbs. Maybe next time we drive by we'll be better equipped to do an epic climb!
After taking our time to explore what we could, Eva and I hit the road again! We decided to head towards Moab and Arches.