Thursday, March 17, 2016

Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nat'l Park

The plan this morning was to try some cross country skiing around Carbondale or Aspen.  It's something new for me that I've always wanted to try.  There certainly wasn't a ton of snow down low (where you cross country ski) but I had Jackie's free gear again and decided to set out and give it a shot.


I did some research and found the spot just outside Carbondale...but when I got there, all I found was a locked gate and lots of dirt showing through the snow.  Bummer!

But I got a new view of my favorite mountain (Sopris):

Option number 2 was the cross country center back in Snowmass, so off I went to check it out.


But it was just more of the same:  dirt showing through and not much snow.  I could have saved that drive if I would have just called the place, because when I got there they told me they were already closed for the season.  Oops!

I was a little bummed that cross country skiing wasn't happening.  And of course I couldn't just sit around for a I decided to hit the road towards Telluride - a place I've wanted to go to for years.

The entire drive was  nothing short of beautiful.

I saw a sign for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and after a quick google search, I realized I was within 30 minutes of another new national park!  I can't pass those up.  The little detour was quickly added to the itinerary for the day.

I've never not been amazed by a National Park in the US, and this place lived up to that.  It was like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon.  Look at this view!

The bad news was the road through the park wasn't opened up yet.  I could only  make it in a few miles past the visitor center before it was closed due to snow/ice on the road.


There was one short hike that was open from the visitor center, so I decided to take it.  I don't know if this snow pack should technically count as an "open" trail, but it did.  And it lead to a beautiful view point of the rushing green water below a steep canyon wall.

It was a pretty short stop, but I'm definitely glad I took the time for the detour.  I didn't even know this place existed before today, and it's someplace I would happily come back to for some hiking, rafting, or rock climbing.

Back in the car, I ate the rest of my burrito from lunch yesterday, and continued on towards Telluride.

 I had more Couchsurfing hosts lined up in Telluride, and one of them asked me to stop and get groceries in a town an hour or so away, because the price of everything in Telluride is so high.  I was grateful for that tip and happily stopped for food...and Tostitos lime chips, my favorite!

The drive continued to amaze me the whole way to Telluride.  The mountains never went away, it was just one new range after another.


I don't exactly know why, but I have always wanted to come to Telluride.  I don't even know how I heard about it.  Probably that Tim McGraw song. ;)

It's about the cutest little town ever.  Houses and shops line Main Street.  There is only one road in to the town...and the same way back out.  The highway dead ends at the mountains.  The whole town is surrounded by them!


While I was walking around town and checking out the ski lift, of course I got a parking ticket!  Thankfully it was just a warning, but I'm sure I'll get anther one at some point while I'm here. 


My first couchsurfing host, Chelsea, was hanging out at a bar at the top of the gondola, so I went to meet her there. 

Totally hit the jackpot AGAIN with Coushurfing.  Chelsea and I hit it off immediately and started planning a trip to Japan together, haha.  She has so many crazy stories and was just such a fun person to be around!

There was a ski softball game going on down in the village, so we went down to check that out.  We barely made it in time to see any of it.  I think we were there like 10 minutes and it was over, but it was oh so funny to watch!



That glow of the sun going down on the mountains around Telluride...that's the best!

Chelsea took me to her house, where I met her dog, Lucy, and her cat, Mr. Cat.

My big comfy couch for the night!

Chelsea invited a couple of friends over and whipped up some delicious burritos for dinner.  It was such a fun night of sitting around sharing stories, meeting new people, and planning new adventures...

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