The Black List
What’s the point in moving all the way to Colorado if you’re going to sit on the couch every weekend? Fair question, and one that we asked ourselves about a month after we’d moved down here.
Yes, we’d been busy- settling into a house and a classroom and two offices takes quite a bit of time and energy- but after three or four weeks of Wild West living we realized we hadn’t really gotten out and done anything yet. As Labor Day weekend approached the plan had been to add Zion and Bryce Canyon stickers to our National Park Passport, but Gracie and I both felt that this early in the school year we had too much on our plates to warrant spending an entire three-day weekend in southwestern Utah. But Colorado has options.
Three hours north of Cortez near Montrose lies the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Never heard of it? Neither had we. While the Grand Canyons and Zions of the world are household names and get the biggest pieces of the tourism pie down here (since they were both established as National Parks in 1919), the Black Canyon remains relatively unknown, having only earned its National Park status in 1999.
And while it’s certainly not as large as the Grand Canyon, I thought I’d throw together a few reasons why YOU should put the Black Canyon on your to-do list.
- It’s the anti-Grand Canyon, and I mean that in a good way. The Grand Canyon is developed. Big time. You can take a bicycle tour, a helicopter tour, a donkey tour, a raft tour, a pink bus tour, whatever you’re into. (And no, none of those are made up.) And while the Grand Canyon is certainly accessible, it’s also busy- busy with parents too busy to keep an eye on their kids playing tag around the rim of a mile-deep drop. Don’t want to witness somebody falling in? Check out Black Canyon. It hosted 160,000 visitors last year, versus the Grand Canyon’s 4.4 million. Fewer irresponsibles and crazies- Nice!
- Its scale will blow you away. Half a mile down, forty feet wide at the bottom, and 1200 feet wide at the top. It’s a big old hole in the ground. Put the Black Canyon next to the Grand Canyon and I guarantee you’ll still be impressed by the Black.
- You might meet a new friend. Gracie and I were hiking when this little dude sprinted past us on the trail like he was late for something. Turns out he’s a Western Collared Lizard, and he made the coolest sound when I squeezed him!
- You can be a National Park hipster! If you hadn’t heard of this park before, your friends probably haven’t either. Check out the Black Canyon, and years from now when it’s finally bringing in millions of tourists (including your friends), you can say you liked the billion-something year old rocks before they were cool!
- It’s another stamp for your passport. Let’s face it, you gotta collect them all. And you can’t find that ‘Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park’ sticker anywhere else.
Until next time,