The person you can barely see is Norm, she is not sure if going down or going up was the worst part.
This is the Gunnision river taken from the bank. We could hardly imagine carrying camping and fishing gear down the “trail” we just came down. This is the most popular unmaintained route to the inner canyon, but it is also strenuous, real strenuous for a couple of RVer’s. It is the route to take for a first time hike to the bottom of the canyon. The hike has an 80 foot chain 1/3 of the way down! That should have told us something. You have to get a “back country permit” before anything can begin. The permit, as was explained to us, meant that if you could not come back the same day, be prepared to spend the night and be rescued the following day. Another warning, not heeded. Here are the highlights of the hike, 1.5 hours on the descent, distance: 1 mile, vertical drop: 1800 feet, ascent: 2 hours, with 3/4 miles of river access, 3 campsites and believe it or not, a compost toilet. We were also informed that the poison ivy could be chest high. After learning all of this, it makes one wonder why we would not only go ahead and do the hike, but are already planning on another inner canyon hike from the north rim next summer.
The Blue Mesa reservoir at first light. A boat was already out on the water trying their luck.
Another view of the reservoir, although the light was not quite right, we had to take the photograph as we were heading out.
When we turned in to check out the campground, a couple of Mule deer were enjoying an early breakfast. The Airstream trailer in the background belongs to the campground host. It is the smallest trailer Airstream makes so I’m not sure a larger RV would have fit in any of the loops. There are three loops in all with loop B having electricity, for a few more dollars a night. The photograph above was taken from the first pull over, Tomichi Point, just past the campground. This quote really sums up what it is like here, “Some are longer, some are deeper, some are narrower, and a few have walls as steep,” writes geologist Wallace Hansen. “But no other canyon in North America combines the depth, narrowness, sheerness and somber countenance of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.”
We stopped in Canon City Colorado to visit this old prison museum. Norm’s Dad is retired from the Pennsylvania Prison system, maybe it runs in the family. This is the last gas chamber used in Colorado, I think.
The prison used to be a women’s prison, with a working prison located just next door. The cell this prisoner is in is located in the basement, for trouble makers, the sign said. Finally the government gets something right.
This prisoner is in one of the old cells that were in use prior to 1979. One inmate sued the state and all convicts got bigger cells.
After the tour of the Colorado prison museum, which cost seven dollars each for the self guided audio tour, we both think it is a must do if you are ever in Canon City. The photo above is of rafters going down the Royal Gorge. The gorge is west of Canon City and quite expensive to even just walk across. At forty-eight dollars for the two of us, we just walked to the edge and looked over. If you have the coin, you can raft, helicopter over and through, ride a tram, train, do a sky coaster and a bunch of other stuff. We came, we saw, we headed west with our $48.00 secure in Norm’s purse.
Near La Junta Colorado the United States operated a Japanese internment camp. We passed it east of La Junta, but the sign did not say what it was so I didn’t stop. Next time we will check it out.
If you have ever seen the wind power everyone is talking about, this is just one of the three blades that go around. It is located at the Colorado visitor center in La Junta. Very friendly folks, will give you anything you would ever need to know about Colorado.
Our first RV park was a KOA off highway 50 in La Junta. Usually my last resort for an RV park is a KOA, but the folks here were more than friendly and generous since we really do not fall into an RV or a tent site, so they gave us an RV spot for much less. The park was also very nice with good showers, a pool and a large recreation room. As a bonus, a Wal-Mart was within walking distance, which we would make good use of the next morning. We discovered in the morning, that our old sleeping pads were no longer good for us. I think they worked real well when we were in our forties. Not now! Our ice chest also proved to be not camping ready, so we purchased a new air mattress and a new ice chest, both worked beyond our expectations. The truck tent turned out to not be water proof. Waking up in the morning, we noticed the tent sagging with heavy dew, just then a large drop of water hit Norm and as I was laughing, one hit me. So, we beat it out of the tent and as Norm was in the shower, the sun came up and dried the east side of the tent. We left the tent on the truck and drove at a snails pace to the Wal-Mart parking lot and positioning it to the west side, shopped for our new products. When we came out, eighty-eight dollars less, the entire tent was dry. We fired up the diesel and turned west ward.
Here are just a few of the items we packed to take with us on our very first, and the start of many, we hope, of a truck camping trip. We have an aged tent that fits (kind of) on the bed of our truck. I will publish photos of it in a future blog. We have two aged thermo type pads that we Velcroed together for a double bed. To fill out all the other old equipment, we borrowed back an old sleeping bag that we had given to our son when we moved into the RV.
This is pretty much what our truck will look like as we head north west out of Oklahoma City. We will be driving into Colorado and plan on stopping at as many things that we find interesting. We plan to hike, drive over as many mountain passes as possible, ending up in Denver Colorado to visit our friends, Bruce and Becky.
We have been trying to visit Route 66 while we are here in Oklahoma and, again this week, I am working ( maybe) on planning a trip later this week. I seem to do much more planning and thinking, and little to no action. The photo above is not from the real Route 66. This photo is from one of my regular sites that I like to read, www.michaeltotten.com. This site gives the reader a good view of the middle east and Europe. The Route 66 signs in this shop window is located in Pejton, Prishtina, Kosovo. The story is titled “An Israeli in Kosovo.” Kosovo is a Muslim-majority country so seeing Route 66 signs and Israeli business’s seems strange, but I think it is a good thing. Michael’s blog is always a good read, well written, great photography and entertaining, sadly, everything this blog is not. But, we will keep trying to improve.