Grand Junction CO

Gunnison River at the base of Black Canyon of the Gunnison

We left Cedar City, Utah, on April 18th and drove to Grand Junction, Colorado, the drive through the mountains along Highway 70 was really beautiful. We checked into the Junction West RV Park for a week. Our first sight to explore was the Black Canyon of theĀ  Gunnison National Park, where we saw the steepest cliffs, oldest rocks, and the craggiest spires in North America. The Black Canyon is so named because its steepness makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate into its depth, and parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40ft wide at the river. However, we were there on a cloudy day so it was mostly grey in color from deep in the gorge to the sky above. The Black Canyon was officially discovered by Captain John Williams Gunnison in 1853, who was leading an expedition to survey a route from Saint Louis to San Francisco. He was killed by the Ute Indians later that year, and the river they named the Grand was renamed in his honor. In 1881, William Jackson Palmer’s DENVER and RIO GRANDE Railroad, (a narrow 3′ gauge rail line) had reached Gunnison from Denver to provide a link to the burgeoning gold and silver mines. And on August 13,1882, the first passenger train passed through the Black Canyon and continued service until the route was finally abandoned in the early 1950s.

“Such a feat of railroad engineering probably can not be found in the world”.

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