August 20 - 22.
We had hoped to stay a night at and tour The Colorado State Monument however the height of the RV is bigger than the tunnels to get in there so we opted for our home away from home, Walmart, for the night.
It's interesting that we both want to spend plenty of time in Colorado and yet we had no strong ideas about what we wanted to see. The Rocky Mountain National Park of course, and Amy wanted to spend time with her brother, Larry. And that is where we drew a blank, where else did we want to spend our time???
A good look at maps directed us to The Black Canyon of the Gunnison, a small park in the west of the State. This is a beautiful park that features deep 2300ft canyons and a fast flowing and very loud Gunnison River. Again we split our time here over 2 days to get the benefit of an evening view followed by the coolness of the morning to do some hiking. It was on a hike that we spotted a bird flying above the canyon and managed to get some good photos.
The afternoon was spent driving through the Gunnison Valley noticing the changes in the landscape from where we had been. More green and more towering trees on the hills and mountains. It was wonderful to see Colorado unfold in front of us and the excitement grew anticipating the adventures we would have here.
As dusk approached we went through our normal questioning of where to stop for the night. No Walmarts in these parts so we looked for National Forest areas or other options. At that point we came across a pulloff at Monarch Pass that sat on a section of the Great Divide and housed a shop & gondola ride. With no knowledge about whether we could sleep here the night, we decided to risk it and settled in on the Atlantic side of the Great Divide.
The next morning we were up early to take the gondola ride to the top for a full overlook of the pass and the mountain ranges around us. It was a really clear morning for this and could see 150 miles, or so the sign said. Back at the bottom we had a photo taken to commemorate being at this section of the Divide and met some interesting people in the shop, with the woman being particularly friendly.
The rest of the day was spent driving through the countryside with a destination of Larry's place outside Boulder. Again it was really nice to see the changing views and know we are in Colorado now and heading higher into the Rockies.