August 20, Montrose CO to Monument Valley, UT

We started out by returning to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to take the road down into the canyon. We had skipped this road the previous day because it was late, and it looked like it was going to rain. The road into the canyon is paved the whole way but quite steep at 16 degrees. (A steep grade on an interstate is considered to be 6 degrees.) It turned out not to be too bad and Scout had no problems. The bottom was quite beautiful. The road comes out at the entrance to the 5 mile diversion tunnel that was built to move water from the Gunnison to the valley for farming. From the base of the canyon it is fun to look up to the top and imagine the early explorers who came down to see what was at the bottom. Those were men. After another trip along the rim road we headed out towards Monument Valley.

This time we took the San Juan Scenic byway thru Ouray and Silverton. Our original plan was to stop and walk around Silverton, but when we got to the visitors center the hostesses were the most unfriendly we had ever run into in a visitors center, apparently they were having some sort of dispute with the manager and had no time to help us. We decided to skip Silverton. The scenic byway ends in Durango, and the change in scenary is incredible. Up to Durango you are driving in the Rockies with trees and a very green environment, and within ten miles you are in high Desert brown and red without trees and large vistas with Rocky outcroppings.


We arrived at Monument Valley late, but headed over to the visitors center for sunset. We were a little disappointed because there were thunder storms in the area so Ton did not get the pictures she was hoping for, but some of them are still nice.

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