Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Silverton to Gunnison

(Jan)We stayed at Mineral Creek for five days. It was a beautiful place; great for walking, hiking, relaxing, 4-wheel driving up the canyons and some tough geocaching.

Friday night offered an unexpected treat. It was the first night of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Great Western Rocky Mountain Brass Band Festival. Chuck and I both love band music so we thought we would give it a try. What we were treated to was nearly 50 incredible musicians from across the United States who come together each year to present this concert. Most are Music Professors or teachers with a few doctor, lawyers and trades people thrown in. They were dressed in period clothing; union and confederate uniforms, barkeep vests and string ties, tailed coats and trousers. Their selections, beautifully performed, ranged from Sousa to Wagner; Miller to Cohan. Some of our favorites were In the Mood, Grandfather’s Clock, Over There and of course, anything by Sousa. The performance ended with a thrilling rendition of Star and Stripes Forever. We enjoyed it so much that we went back Sunday noon. It was a shorter program with a few different selections but every bit as good. It ended, again, with the crowd on its feet clapping along to a fortissimo, very exuberant Stars and Stripes Forever. The music is still ringing in our ears and we’ve been humming the tunes ever since.

On Saturday we decided to drive up to Ouray on the ‘million dollar highway.’ It certainly lives up to its name with the majestic mountain views and breathtaking twist and turns and steep drop offs along the highway. We enjoyed stopping to read the story boards about the mining towns and operations that thrived there. We rolled down into Ouray and strolled through the downtown area and then hiked up to the falls at the edge of town.

On Sunday we headed east of Silverton. Again, reading the story board along the way, we learned a lot about the mining history of the area. It was another wonderful drive up along a mountain stream to the ghost town of Eureka. The road from their eventually connects to Cinnamon Pass and Lake City. We arrived back in Silverton for the noon band concert.

Too much frost on the windshield and 32 degrees on Monday morning prompted us to move on to a warmer place. So up over Red Mountain Pass we went.........

On to Gunnison (Chuck)

We were not sure where we would end up in this area, but we knew it would be West of Gunnison, Colorado. We consider ourselves fair boondockers and enjoy it. Our camp site cost per day for August has been $1.88. With this in mind, I had a list of possible spots to stay in this area. The best prospect was from Days End. This is the entry:

CO, GUNNISON: SKP 18813 Dean & Pat Hammett. W of Gunnison 19 mi on US-50 to Red creek cg sign (across from Blue Mesa Restaurant). Turn right on gravel road for 1 mi. Nice grassy/treed area on left, room for 5-6 big rigs. NPS land on stream. No facilities. Don't go further up gravel road due to difficulty turning around. Jan/Feb 94 SKP N/L.

Ok, it was my fault. I should not have gone down a gravel road with information that was 14 years old. Many of the entries in Bob Ed”s “Days End” are older than that, however I just haven’t been caught like this before. The road was actually a good gravel road. I stopped after a while and walked forward to peer around the corner. Then full of confidence, I blundered into it. The site was only one mile in from the highway, how bad could it be?? The sites where there was “room for 5-6 big rigs” was down off a slope and next to the road. Beavers had raised the water table in the meadow area so that this was not going to work.
Well ……. If I can drive into it I can back out of it. I backed our fiver uphill, and around the curves to the highway. It was one of those things that we don’t want to do too many times, but, if you are going to find the most beautiful boondock spots in the world to stay at, this will happen to you at some time in your life. Believe me it is not terminal.
A couple miles down the road was Gunnison, CO, Curecanti National Rec. Area, Elk Creek CG on Blue Mesa Reservoir (N 38 28.141 W107 10.448) 7560’ elevation. It is a very nice campground and only $12.00 per day. We may stay here four or five days. Today we drove to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park today and it is one of the most awesome places that we have been. The geology and rock formations of the park are wonderful. It may be one of the most underrated places that we have had the pleasure of visiting. We spent most of the day going from one viewing point to the next.

Two years ago we met an Escapee couple in the Black Hills of South Dakota. One of the things that they said that impressed me was that each place they had been, they thought was so remarkable. It seemed that in this lifestyle that each place that they visited was even more beautiful than the one that they were at yesterday. It really is one of life’s blessings that we have the ability to experience the wonders of this great country of ours.


Anonymous said...

We enjoy checking your blog daily to see where you are. Glad to hear you are enjoying Colorado.
Bobbie and Jim Chapman

Nancy said...

Just wanted to let you guys know how much Jerry and I are enjoying your blog stories and photos from Colorado. Sorry we missed you, but hope to see you later.

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