Curecanti National Recreation Area, Colorado
The altitude here is 9,300 feet. It started to snow just after we arrived. The temperature rises to about 35 during the day and drops to around 15 at night.
The campgrounds are officially closed but you can camp in some of them if you wish. We found one to move to today with a lovely view of a lake and mountains. The picnic tables are buried in snow, but they’ve plowed the road.
The Gunnison river loses more elevation in 48 miles than the Mississippi loses in 1500. It used to slam though the canyon at the rate of 12,000 cubic feet a seconds in Spring with 3 million horsepower. This allowed the river to carve an extremely steep canyon though very hard rock at a depth of nearly 3,000 feet.
The upper portions of the river now have three dams which created high mountain lakes stocked with many species of trout, Dolly Varden and salmon. The lake region is administered by the National Park Service and is called the Curecanti National Recreation Area.
The most dramatic 14-mile stretch of the river is a National Park: The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We talked to two park rangers yesterday who were shoveling snow off an observation overlook. They told us that normally the trails would have been open two weeks ago, but the snowfall this year was 150% of normal.
The campground cat at the last place was very friendly. It was furry and fat and seemed to live outdoors with the coyotes. Here it is eating a breakfast of salmon salad (salmon, eggs, onions and mayonnaise). It seemed to want to leave with us but Mrs. Phred and I decided against acquiring a companion.
We can go on any of the trails, they say, with snowshoes. Mrs. Phred and I have never tried snowshoes. We both grew up in Florida. I ask if snowshoes can be rented locally and got the name a sporting goods store in Montrose. Maybe? Here are a few pictures of the area.