Monday, April 11, 2011

Free Off Road Hot Springs, Black Canyon NP, & Another Hippy Hot Springs

Next day we were headed for a 2 night camp at Black Canyon NP. We were slightly delayed as I left my small backpack at the local brewpub, which I retrieved safely. We further delayed ourselves by going to a very natural and free hot springs, Penny, right out of town and off the road, next to the cold Chrystal river.  We even saw sheep drinking from the river. Another reason not to have a tight schedule and chill with couch surfers.  

When Dan suggested the place; I suggested he and his friend Tom join us. We realized that all of us were recently unemployed and we cheers to that. It worked out nicely as Dan helped us out and even though we did not surf in his cool 1987 old ski bus, we got to meet up. Before heading out, we got a tour of the groovy bus that has been on some epic adventures like taking 9 people to Burning Man.

The drive down was nice through cattle and horse ranches and green valleys. We arrived at Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP (8,000 ft) before sunset and got to finally make a fire and cooked salmon over it.  Next day, after talking to the ranger, we did a 2.4 mile loop hike with proper crampons and poles on Oak Trail. Cool views of the canyon and the pretty clear blue Gunnison river down there.  The canyon is about 2,700 feet high, but at times you can hear the roaring sound of the raging river. The park protects 14 miles of the gorge and was made into a NP in 1999.

Also did the 7 mile Rim drive with tons of overlooks and ended with the 1.5 mile loop Warner Point hike, which was very pretty seeing the Uncompahgre Valley, mts, canyons, and trees. It quickly started snowing and piling up fast. It was too foggy to do the Rim Rock trail, we decided to head back to camp and then pack it up and leave a night early.

We planned on visiting Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway, so we headed there, as we knew one could camp there. It was pricey but we got an indoor kitchen and use of the pools that night and the next day. This is my second time camping at a hot springs in my life, both being weeks apart and in CO. This was a natural, not so resorty, clothing option; my kinda place. It was actually one of our coldest camping nights; our water bottles froze up, along with my toes I left the tent at 6:30 am to dip my toes in the pools and make breaky. Click here for more pix.

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