From the North Cascades we cruised into Chelan for an evening before high tailing it to Western Colorado and Black Canyon of the Gunnison & Fruita.
The plan was to meet up with Michael and we would pick up Sarah and Robbie from the airport in Grand Junction for a ten day visit!
Mike quickly caught us driving from Seattle to Price Canyon, UT in one shot and from there we caravanned into Fruita for the next few days. We had a campsite conveniently close to town at James M Robb State Park which we used as our base camp.
The day after Sarah and Robbie arrived we had rented mountain bikes and headed over to 18 Mile road for some biking. This was a super fun day and we spent a few hours doing laps. Joe’s ridge was a really fun challenge for Sarah and I, and PBR was a fast and fun ride for everyone. Mike and Sarah got a Mac Ride for Robbie and this was his first time using it, he absolutely loved it. So we all went out for one more group ride before heading back to town to return bikes.
Next up we left Fruita and drove to the North Rim of Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Luckily Sarah and Mike were able to snag us the last big and level(ish) spot. The campground only had about thirteen spots and it quickly filled. Beautiful and secluded and set at about 7700′ feet. The weather was ideal and we opted to hike the North Vista trail to Exclamation point and onwards to Green Mountain summit. Robbie hiked a good portion and even trail ran for awhile.
Exclamation point has amazing views of the Canyon, steep drops allow you to see far below to the Gunnison River. Atop Green mountain we were able to see more expansive views of the canyon. As the sun was setting we headed back into camp for dinner and a stunning starry night.
Day two in Black Canyon we headed to the South rim campground where we easy found a nice pull through spot. We headed down the rim trail to the visitor center to ask about hikes and pick up a sticker.
That evening we attended a star talk with a park volunteer and were able to look at some constellations and planets through a huge telescope!
After talking with the ranger we decided to try and get a permit to hike into the Canyon via the Gunnison route the next day. This was not a Robbue friendly hike, but Mike volunteered to stay behind. At 8am Sarah, Joe and I headed down to the visitor center to obtain our permit.
The Gunnison route is about 2 miles round trip with 1800′ in elevation and is considered a class 3 scramble. We cruised down in about an hour to the base of the canyon and the banks of the Gunnison River. Lush green trees covered the banks of the river and the steep walls rose rapidly from the river’s edge. Our climb up was heart pumping and a challenge, but we made it back to the top in just over an hour. Feeling pleased we had made such great time, we met back up with Mike and Robbie to drive the East Portal Road.
Blazing fall colors blanketed the trees and shrubs as we descended rapidly into the canyon. East Portal is a nice option for those who don’t want to hike into the canyon or in Robbies case are too little. From here you can get up close to the river and also read about the diversion tunnel that was built here.
That was a wrap on our Gunnison adventures and we hit the road to Telluride!