Continuing where we left off in Part 1 of the trip report, after leaving Mesa Verde National Park, I drove North to Montrose Colorado to be in position for sunrise at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison became a National Park on October 21, 1999, encompasing 30,750 acres and is known for its incredibly steep cliffs and narrow canyon. At its narrowest point, Chasm View, the canyon is 1,100ft wide at the rim, 40ft wide at the river and 1,820ft deep! This unique steepness and narrowness is caused by the steep route the Gunnison River takes through the canyon. It averages 34ft of drop per mile which causes the river to cut deeper into the canyon faster than the walls can erode and widen the canyon.
The canyon is difficult to photograph during the day due to the huge contrast between the shadows and the sunny side of the canyon. I think this park may be best captured in the pre-dawn and post sunset light. A second trip to better capture this park is definitely in order.
Part 3 of the trip report will cover Maroon Bells and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
As magma cools and solidifies, water becomes concentrated, making the remaining magma more fluid. That last bit of magma to cool moves easily into the cracks in the surrounding rock before cooling and forming a type of granite called Pegmatite. The light colored streaks at Painted Wall in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park are an impressive example of this phenomenon. For reference, those are full size trees above the rim of the canyon. At 2,250 feet high, Painted Wall is Colorado’s tallest cliff.
The patterns in the rock look great in black & white too.
Check back Tuesday for the long overdue Part 2 of my Colorado Fall Color Trip Report.