Betty doesn’t so much peer, as sneer, into the abrupt sheer walls of the Black Canyon (of the Gunnison). We hadn’t been to the North Rim of the Park before, until early October (2015). Yeah, like her — I was overcome by a wave of vertigo when I strode to the edge for my first glimpse into the gorge.
As deep, and in places perhaps deeper, than the more-famous Grand Canyon (of the river the Gunnison loses its identity into and with a mere 60 miles downstream of where we were), the Black Canyon is narrow. Less than a mile rim-to-rim. As hinted earlier, the canyon does not transition in steps or phases from top to bottom. No, it is ABRUPT. When we recovered somewhat from the initial disruption of our sense of balance and stability (we never recovered totally from THAT), we could peer down 1500-some feet almost directly to the river. (The Canyon is 2000-feet high in places).
We were there to participate in the Montrose (Colo.) running club (San Juan Mountain Runners) annual 20k and 8k runs along the rim road. I was an actual entrant, whereas Betty would ride her bike in and amongst the runners. And (fortunately, as at some races she is put off by elitist runner snobbery) she enjoyed socializing with everyone afterwards. Very little, nay, practically none, of the plague of elitist runner snobbery ~
The previous weekend we drove up to the Grand Mesa (you know, that big flat-topped mountain a couple dozen miles east of our house, and only 5500′ higher). Betty couldn’t resist photographing the various wildlife residing up there…
Not to worry, someone rounds up all they can of these wild critters before the white stuff gets too deep. THAT is probably going on any week now ~
Looks a little like a profusion of dandelions amok in our yard, but above is an intermingling of aspen groves with the lodgepole (and other evergreen species: fir, spruce, etc.) on the Flowing Park arm of the Mesa.
We are near the “Land’s End” promontory on the west side of the Mesa. I’ve zoomed-in on the (Manti) LaSal Mountains, about 100 miles away in Utah. Moab is on the other side. Unaweep Canyon (dramatic in its own way, in a more subdued and less National-Park-y aspect than the Black) is visible just to the right. Betty and I consider Unaweep to be “our” canyon, as it’s OUR PLAYGROUND. We do (sometimes reluctantly) share it with others. Look it up: it’s unique! (“only canyon (in the world?) with two mouths”) or entrances. I can tell you why and how. Maybe later, unless the internet has told you already).
More, Mesa seasonal-foilage transitional phasing. We look from below Land’s End south, to Flowing Park.
Some of the aspens are not gold, but … copper? with a veritable interlayered broth of the shorter stuff in between.
Fast happy healthy radiant ladies. Helps keep this senior citizen young. The lady-in-green was the fastest runner of the day (regardless of M/F, veteran/youth) — she was the outright winner of the 20k event. To her left is her sister, 2nd woman (3rd over-all) in the 8k event.
Rosco, left, short-sleeved turquoise shirt, appears haggard as he staggers after his 8k finish. This was a race-day where women were dominant — hence the 20k over-all winner, above. In my race, medals were awarded to the fastest 3 men and fastest 3 women. If I was female, I would have been 6th!
Rock-Sea, who wouldn’t have been allowed to run free at the Nat’l Park, enjoys the drive and fall foilage the week before on the Mesa. We did go for a 5-mile jaunt on the Mesa-Top Trail — my last “fine-tuning” preparation for the following weekend’s 8k.
Again, not all the aspen turn gold — there’s a bit o’ red here ‘n there ~
Rosco must have been more annoying than usual (and ate more than his share of post-race treats) — as the Race Director (Jan Peart) tries to strangle him with his 3rd-place-men’s 8k medal …
Below, I look forward to the progress and status of Venus (top) and Jupiter, lower and left, before the sun rises. My camera couldn’t adequately capture the fainter Mars, in between ~