Our Phish concert visit to the University of California at Berkeley's far-out Museum of Paleontology had us craving proterozoic. So we used our Phish concert visit to Telluride to hop over Ralph Lauren's million+ acre artistically-log-fenced Dallas Divide ranch, through Montrose, and out the 20 miles to the African American Canyon of the Gunnision National Park.
Montrose residents told us that "it really never snows in Montrose" despite its 6000 foot elevation deep in the mountains of western Colorado. Montrose skiers can drive 70 miles south over "Ralphie's Ranch" (the lore is that RL hires race car drivers to chase him up, over, and around the divide in twin sports cars de jour) to Telluride and its 4000 foot (*'d) drop -- or Montrose skiers can drive 70 miles east up the Gunnsion River to Crested Butte's 2700 foot drop (posted 3100 foot drop includes boot hiking.) The Gunnsion River has its headwaters at Crested Butte and then runs 180 miles north to join the Colorado River at Grand Junction.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison River has some of the oldest exposed rock in the world -- over 2 billion years old. A little scoop of plaster mix, some coffee grounds and mud, precambian gneiss and schist, proterozoic crystalline rock. Finest in the nation indeed.
A Telluride lady was lamenting at Tuesday's phish show that she was "too old" with her lameo husband agreeing "most of these people are 15 years younger than we are" -- but I gave her the right reply "I usually say I'm about the same age as the guys in phish." So, here's some more of that super-old rock.
Congress approved President BJ Clinton's elevation of Black Canyon of the Gunnison from National Monument to National Park status in 1999. (GW Bush got south-central Colorado's terrific (grey) Great Sand Dunes National Park elevated in 2004 -- mind your car keys!) The Black Canyon of the Gunnsion National Park has a 15 mile paved south rim drive with several trails and overlooks. If you are training for a big mountain trail run or just looking to ruin your rental car's breaks, there is a 18% grade paved spiral staircase to the canyon floor where the average temperature is 8 degrees warmer than at the rim. This Touchdown Jesus just a stone's throw away -- a 2000 foot drop blow the rim -- predates the real Jesus.
Although 6000footdrop.com did an earlier post on the silliness that is Delta Airlines as we depart Colorado we would like to provide a special note of thanks and our 6KD Efficiency Cheer to the three-woman reflective vested Delta staff at the Chuck Yeager-approved Montrose Airport (MTJ) on Wednesday's lone Delta flight to SLC. The flight was delayed coming in and the 2 teenage fly fishermen and the 40 phishheads filling the CRJ 200 all had close connections to make in SLC. So, the Delta MTJ vested trio (1) visited each passenger in the waiting area and took their gate-check luggage out to pre-load onto the cart, (2) visited each passenger and pre-scanned the boarding pass, then (3) as the incoming plane landed, asked the group to "please cooperatively assemble, talk to your neighbor, this will be fun. Please line up with Row 13 here at the the door all the way back to Row 1 over here -- this way you can all just walk right onto the plane." Phishheads are the world's best at cooperatively lining up! The Telly vibe continued right out onto the tarmac -- loading the plane as quickly as snatching up Pollocks. A very nice final social reminder that you are not alone when you love music.