A garden is the best alternative therapy.

Pam Penick, a fellow garden blogger at Digging,  asked bloggers to recount their past trips to our country’s national parks.   While another blogger has already posted about their trip to this area, I thought I would share my experiences and pictures from our 2008 trip to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park as well as the surrounding national wilderness areas: the West Elk Wilderness and the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests.

Michelle and I decided to drive to Colorado last summer for our vacation.  Michelle had never seen Colorado, and although it had been nearly thirty years since I had been to see family there, it left such a lasting impression on me that I have always wanted to go back.  We were anxious to try out a bunch of new camping gear, and I chose a primitive camp site in a remote part of the West Elk Wilderness to pitch our tent.  The campground was small – only ten campsites in total – but sat along the edge of an alpine lake at 9600 feet, below the East and West Beckwith mountains.  There were no reservations, so we drove 1,000 miles in hopes that we’d find an open spot.

through the mist upon our arrival - Ruby Range

through the mist upon our arrival - Ruby Range

We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and the rain was misting the entire area.  The camp host informed us that there were no campsites, and after talking with him for several minutes, he couldn’t help but feel our disappointment.  Then he remembered an “overflow” site that nobody ever wants to stay at because it doesn’t have a table or firepit.  “We don’t need those!” we exclaimed and quickly took the site.  As it turns out, it was one of the largest and more private spots, with an awesome view of East Beckwith mountain.

from our campsite, the view of East Beckwith across Lost Lake

from our campsite, the view of East Beckwith across Lost Lake

We spent the next several days fishing in one of three lakes, we climbed to near the top of East Beckwith, wandered down miles of trails, and even trudged our way along animal trails through ferns as tall as our heads trying to find our way to the top of Marcellina Mountain.  You see, I had it planned out to propose to Michelle on top of the mountain.

Marcellina Mountain, morning mist

Marcellina Mountain, morning mist

The ten mile trip through the trail-less woods, however, clamoring up the rocky side of the mountain for hours and sloshing through the high-altitude swamp wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  We didn’t make it to the top, but enjoyed the view from the altitude we climbed to – about 11,500 feet.  The view of the Ruby Range and the Raggeds was literally breathtaking – or maybe it was the difficult scramble and high altitude!

view of East Beckwith from near top of Marcellina

view of East Beckwith from near top of Marcellina

view of Ruby Range and Dark Canyon from Marcellina

view of Ruby Range and Dark Canyon from Marcellina

view of the Raggeds mountain ranges from Marcellina

view of the Raggeds mountain ranges from Marcellina

After getting lost on the way back, feeling a bit of panic and pushing our bodies to the limits, we made it back to camp and collapsed on the tent floor.

By the way, she said yes.  It wasn’t quite as romantic as I’d hoped, but it was certainly an adventure!

View of the Raggeds from top of East Beckwith (our campsite near center on other side of lake)

View of the Raggeds from top of East Beckwith (our campsite near center on other side of lake)

Joseph on the dam at Lost Lake

Joseph on the dam at Lost Lake

aspen grove serenity

aspen grove serenity

We finished up the trip by completing the rest of the West Elk Scenic Biway, circling southwest to the north ridge of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  We made several stops along the rim, taking pictures as we went.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Joseph at Black Canyon North Rim (this was scarier than it looks)

Joseph at Black Canyon North Rim (this was scarier than it looks)

3M: Michelle, Mulesears and Marcellina

3M: Michelle, Mulesears and Marcellina

last look ...

last look ...

Advertisements

Comments on: "Celebrating National Parks: Black Canyon of the Gunnison" (4)

  1. I’m glad, after all that climbing, she had breath left in her body to say yes! 😉 What an amazing place. Thank you so much for sharing it with us and joining in the national park celebration.

  2. roundrockgarden said:

    I’m glad she did, too! It was my intention to completely wear her out then distract her with all of the Colorado beauty so she’d be so overwhelmed that the only answer could be, “Yes!” 😀

  3. What a lovely idea to propose up there among the wildflowers. Question is, will the wedding be up there too? How about the Wildflower Center? That would be the perfect place. We have never been to Lost Lake- Somehow we are always in a hurry to get somewhere else. How I hate it when we drive within 50 miles of the Grand Canyon and Bryce etc and don’ t go in. Aways rushing- This time it was to meet family in Bozeman for a camping trip at Yellowstone. May just get chance to post one more.
    Your photos of the scenery are breathtaking but then 12,000′ will do that.
    Congratulations to you both.

  4. […] of A Round Rock Garden visits Black Canyon and proposes to his fiancee along the way; he also stops to admire the Colorado […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: