I chilled a little then continued on to Silver Jack Reservoir. The last time I was up here, last year, the place was crowded with RVs and anglers. This time it was deserted. I guess the crowds are holding off until Independence Day weekend. And, well, it was the middle of the week. I chilled some more.
The road eventually connects with US 50. I figured I'd just take 50 to Montrose then back to Ridgway. But the sign for Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park caught my eye. Hey, why not. I'd been to the north rim but not the south. And I had my Interagency Senior Pass.
At the south rim park entrance there's a paved road down to the river, at East Portal. It's narrow and steep—a 16% grade. Yes, sixteen, not six. I put the Rolling Steel Tent in first gear to save my brakes on the way down. There's fishing access and a campground. I chilled some more. Although the park's unofficial slogan is Deep, Steep and Narrow, East Portal isn't as dramatic. So I chugged back up to the rim in first gear, stopping a few minutes at a large pullout to let the engine cool.
Looking east from near the visitor center
The trouble with being at Black Canyon at midday, just after the summer solstice, is that the sun is almost directly overhead. That doesn't make for very interesting lighting. As photographers say, it's flat. I went from overlook to overlook seeking lighting that best fit the drama of the place. This is the best I could do. A different time of day in a different season would've been better, but still...
It's over 2,000 feet down to the river
Lou was back by the time I returned. He'd had a good day of fishing. It turned out I had driven past him near Silver Jack Reservoir. I didn't know that was where he'd gone. Or maybe he had mentioned it beforehand and I didn't consciously take note of it. Maybe my subconscious did, which is the reason I went that direction. Strange world. And beautiful.