Yep, another “I almost died” post. Seems like I’ve had more than one or two moments like this during my Rockies trip. The best though had to be at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
I had just left Ouray and was making my way to the Gunnison, wanting to take a nice little peak at the black canyons here before starting the long drive to Colorado Springs. And peak I did:
The rain was going in and out, but didn’t affect things too much, that is, until the rain turned to snow and the sky suddenly turned a few shades darker. Just like that, the weather literally changed on me, and the ground was covered with mushy slush. I tried to drive carefully but it wasn’t long before the car actually SLID out of control and I found myself teetering towards towards the edge of the road. Right there at the top of the canyons, with no guardrails.
That’s it, I’m done. TOTALLY DONE with this rail-less, cliffside driving I’ve been doing since the beginning of this road trip.
I ever so slowly now drove back towards the exit until the terrain was warm enough that the ground finally solidified under me. It sucked because I had only literally been in the canyon for no more than 10 minutes before the slush forced me to turn back, and from the little I managed to see, the views were just incredible. Blah, something else that will just have to wait till next time.
At this point I turned again onto Highway 50, a nice stretch of road that cuts through the Gunnison region and eventually feeds into I-25.
Because I had missed out on the Durango Railroad, I decided to see if I could make the Royal Gorge Train as sort of a consolation prize. I really had to step on it though, so I rocketed as fast as I could until I reached Canon City, with just ten minutes to spare before the train left the station. BooYAH.
It’s actually a pretty short train ride too, 2 hours or so from what I remember, although the experience was somewhat anti-climatic. Not that the gorge wasn’t fascinating to look at, but compared to where I’ve just been before, it all seemed a little dull to me. I didn’t mind though, since I needed to relax after the long drive I had taken. Plus the buffalo burger they have for lunch here was nommy good.
After about an hour the train stops and affords you some picturesque views of the neighboring river and plains that stretch beyond the gorge, before switching gears and heading back to the station.
Towards the end you can spot the Royal Gorge Bridge, which is the highest suspension bridge in the world. I was at the very bottom of the gorge here, so the view doesn’t look nearly as intimidating from this vantage point as it would have been from the top.
After the train ride I made a quick little detour through Pueblo before heading up north to Colorado Springs. I was curious about this area because of the numerous federal agencies that seemed to be stationed here, so I wanted to check it out as a prospective place to work. I was really surprised by just how desert-like the terrain was though. I mean I knew the plains are flatter here due to being further away from the mountains, but wow. Too far from the mountains for my comfort. Still, I was glad to be getting the lay of the land here, and I had covered so much ground now that I gained a FAR better understanding of Colorado’s geography than I did before. That was important, especially if I find a way to ultimately move out here.
It’s part of why I made Colorado Springs my very last stop before returning home.