Gunnison to Carbondale

We will remember this road traveled for a very long time.  We were en route to Carbondale from Gunnison.  We decided to take Hwy 50 to 92 and then onto 133.  We were hoping the road would be scenic.  It was beyond scenic.  The interplay of weather, canyons, wild rivers, waterfalls, spring flower and more made the full day's drive uber special.

Looking east towards Gunnison.  This is the Blue Mesa Lake. 

Blue Mesa Lake.

There are few pullouts along the route we chose.  But one that was very nice was Pioneer point at the start of Hwy 92.  Oh my!!  There was an actual parking lot and three lookout points.  I went right this time.  Tom went left and then we switched.  We also took in the middle.  This area would be on the east end of Black Canyon.  Our estimated travel time took a real dive with this stop.

A slow, calm green river, the Gunnison River.

But, from a different lookout point you see that not is at it appeared.  Below a very rapid and treacherous whitewater section.

This is the Curecanti Needle, a nearly vertical pinnacle of quartz monzonite that rises almost 700 feet above Morrow Point Lake.  In the first emblem used by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad (1884), the Curecanti Needle was pictured against a rising sun in the Black Canyon with the tag line "Scenic Line of the World" written below. 

The weather was becoming more threatening around me (but not right where I was).  I did not see any of the painted walls like we saw in Black Canyon.  This wall, however, looked really interesting.  Just as I was getting ready to settle in and really explore it photographically I heard a HUGE clap of thunder nearby.  I settled for a crop in post!

Cropped in part of the wall shown above. 

Cruising on Hwy 133, turn a corner and BOOM!  Please, oh please can we have a turn out for this?  Yes!!!  Surreal.  Tom knows when and how to use a fish eye lens to get it all in.  This is a much more dramatic shot than the one I took.

ISO 200 at 42mm, f/8, 1/6 with Nikon D810 and Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.  Standing next to Tom but with a completely different camera and lens setup.

Tom then turned to a more conventional set up but still shot much wider than I did. 

We started driving parallel to the Crystal River as we neared our next campsite.  Once again we were amazed at how full the rivers are.  You can tell we are desert rats!!!!

The waterfall drains into this pipe and then goes under the road and into the Crystal River.

New version of Tom's lonely tree image.

Aha!  I spotted this lonely tree as well but I wanted to show how it was faring in such whitewater.  It is holding on for dear life!

Then, walk five feet and you see this out in the middle of the fray!  A cairn!

We arrived at the Crystal River KOA Resort and we parked right next to the Crystal River.  Wonderful sound to sleep by!  The next day we decided to head back south on Hwy 133 to Redstone and Marble, stopping along the way to get photos left behind the day before.  It is much easier to pull out when in the car than in Mellie.

These are coke ovens.  These beehive ovens were constructed in the late 1890s to carbonize or 'coke' the coal mined in the nearby Coal Basin mines for use by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.  Coal was loaded into the ovens through a hole in the top and converted to coke when heated in an oxygen-deficient environment.  The coke was removed through a second opening in the front and loaded onto rail cars.  The coke was used in smelting ores and in the production of steel.  They in the process of being stabilized and a few will be completely restored.

Up next was a waterfall that we had missed the day before.

Those who routinely shoot with Tom and me are probably smiling.  These two images of the same waterfall sparked some nice discussion between us about how to best represent a scene.  Our cameras are really very limited instruments in capturing any scene in the same way that our eyes 'see' it. Neither of us is likely to convince the other that any adjustment made is a better representation of the 'way it really was'!

One big reason for going to Marble was to check out the food at the 'slow groovin BBQ'.  Several people had highly recommended their awesome meats.  Yep, pretty good finger lickin St. Louis ribs.

After lunch we checked out Beaver Lake.  Disappointing with lots of green scum, poor light, wind on the water . . . but, after our great lunch we were not even upset by all of that!

Beaver Lake

It appears that marble is still being taken from a quarry near Marble, CO.  The Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument were made with marble from the same quarry.

A mowed meadow.

Looking back at the end of another day.  Dusk approaching.

One last sloooooow river photo.

Thanks for joining us.  We are happy you are along for the trip.