Thursday, August 20, 2015

Lower End of Black Canyon

We had just started down the road to the river when I espied a bird  by the side of the road.  I am thankful that John is usually willing to pull over and stop when I give a shout out!
Pictured above is a Gunnison grouse, related to the greater sage grouse.  His habitat is limited so we were fortunate to see him.  It is a steep and winding road down into the canyon, like 16 per-cent grade.  We had 5 miles of that before we reached bottom.
We had just started our drive along the river when we noticed a few cars pulled over to the side.  People were getting out of their cars and pointing to the hillside across the river.
I am thrilled that after all this time in Colorado we finally saw a bear!  Further down the road other people also saw a mother bear and her cubs, we did not get a good sighting of them.
From 1904-1912 Gunnison River became America's first reclamation project.  A diversion dam and 5.8 mile tunnel was built through the canyon for flood control, irrigation and hydroelectric power. We were able to see the dam as well as part of the tunnel as we drove along the river.   Eventually three more dams were built, which tamed the river.   The erosional forces of the Gunnison River will no longer be making its impact on the canyon.

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