After due consideration, I think I have to rate the mountain highway coming down from Silverton to Ouray as the most challenging one we hit this trip. Check out this road sign!

Scary enough, but the actual road is even more so! It's like they designed it in cursive!

While I was stopped I took a shot of these pretty wildflowers, pushing bravely up through the gravel beside the pavement.

Even braver are the pines and aspens growing across the road, with half their roots hanging out!

This is a working mine (I think) a little further along. More loopy roads.

We stopped in the very scenic town of Ouray. The town really is a treat for the eyes, but even more of a treat for hot tub fanatics. This shot shows about 2/3rds of their community pool, which offers an assortment of hot, warm and cool areas, plus water slides and rentable floating toys. If you are ever passing through, I HIGHLY recommend it!

From Ouray we went to Montrose, where we were reunited with our home road of Highway 50. Along the way is the National Park for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. It is AMAZING. This shot is of the walkway that leads down from the information center.

Despite my fear of "hikes", I decided this was worth walking down for, and I was right. In addition to a great first view of the canyon, I saw a wild lizard which I am pretty sure is a horned toad.

This site is like an inversion of the mountains we had just been in -- the same types of rocks and formations, but instead of sticking up into the sky, they form a wild, steep, LONG canyon with a river roaring away down at the bottom.

Just a glimpse of the Gunnison River in the distance.

Rocks and shadows.

I think I took this picture from the walkway, but it's amazing how much awesome you can see from your car!

Plenty of hawks, eagles, and other birds to see here!

The river looks peaceful from way up here, but it's pretty wild when you are near it, I hear.

We moved on to the town of Gunnison, where we would stay the night. We were lucky, it didn't start raining until we had finished touring the Black Canyon. Just as we were leaving the Pizza Hut where we had dinner (it was Mike's turn to pick), the sun came out and made a full double rainbow, both of the arcs going clear across the horizon. The W on the hill is for Western State College.

Next page features the first half of our last day, in which we visit the Royal Gorge.

Page 6
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Pictures copyright Susan Crites 2006