We set off with the Fred and Karen for a day sightseeing in the Gunnison and Blue Mesa Lakes area. Friday had turned off rainy and much cooler, so we had postponed the trip until Saturday. Saturday started off bright, but as we climbed into the Mean Green (our F250 pickup), a rainbow hung over the campground to the west. Hopefully a good sign for the day, so all aboard and off we go.
Our plan: go over Cottonwood Pass, down to Turner Reservoir, on through the canyon to Almont and down into Gunnison. A beautiful drive. As we headed up toward Cottonwood Pass, the clouds hung low over the tops of Mt. Yale and Harvard. Hummm, what was the drive going to be like?
As we got above the tree line we were definitely in the clouds and everything around us was obscured into a soupy grey mist. Just over the pass, the paved road becomes packed dirt, except now as the rain began to fall, it was a yellowish brown slippery loblolly. Hang on by the seat of your pants around the hair pin turns! Don’t get to close to the edge to give the big trailer room to get around the curve! Down again into the tree line, where the rain stopped and the clouds are back in the sky, where they belong, but the road is still a sloppy mess. Along the road cattle are free ranging and we saw a few deer. Tall pines close in tight to the road on this side, but you get a glimpse of a stream meandering down the way and beaver ponds every little while. Once down to Taylor Reservoir the road is once again paved, but now the Mean Green is Yucky Tan. Taylor is another one of those beautiful Colorado lakes dropped into a valley between high mountains. It rushes out into a short canyon and continues down through a narrow valley to meet the Gunnison River. This was our first time through the area between Taylor and Gunnison. Awesome!
We spent some time looking around Gunnison, got some burgers and lunched at a local park. The dogs were happy to have some time to stretch their legs, as were we. Heidi had invited Fred and Karen’s Yorkie, Bella, to go with us. From Gunnison we headed further west along the river to the Blue Mesa Lake. Blue Mesa is Colorado’s largest lake twenty miles long with 96 miles of shoreline. U.S. 50 travels along the north banks of the lake, and crosses it at Middle Bridge to complete the journey on the south side. The area is filled with beautiful mesas, and deep narrow canyons. The Dillon Palisades stand out as a timeless landmark along one section of the lake.
According to the internet the lake is home to fresh water salmon and provides excellent fishing. At the western terminus of the lake, the weather was once again closing in and threatening, so we turned around and headed back. This time we took US 50 over Monarch Pass passing the Monarch Ski area, down into Salida and back to the Rolling Eagle. It was good to settle back and relax after a long day of exploring.