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Welcome back! Today we are going to talk about my detour to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
This is another park I have never been to, but due to the freeway being shut down, it’s a perfect opportunity to check it out. And, I get to check another park off of my bucket list!
I need to remember to set up my hammock when it’s hot out. I did stay up late to watch the stars and saw a few shooting ones too! It was a great way to end my stay.
This is always a bit sad for me. I don’t ever want to leave this area or this park. There are so many things to do, hikes, biking, and much more. I have been told a few hikes (thanks to Tristan from SUVRVing) that I will have to come back to check out.
Waking up at my favorite campsite in the area was a great feeling. I decided to make it a quick day and load up and leave. Unfortunately, the wind was still extreme, and the weather hasn’t been the best (been very hot, if you were wondering).
Arriving in Colorado
I have always liked Colorado. I have plans on meeting friends south of Denver, but I love Grand Junction. Again, there is so much to do, and the vibe of this town is amazing.
I stopped in to get some coffee and relax walking around.
It’s fun when I have cell reception, and I can turn my phone into a hot spot. But, what does that even mean? Well, I can make the Rav into my mobile office and write!
Well, that is until it gets too hot. Once it got to this point, I did the one thing I’ve been looking forward to for days.
I GOT A SHOWER!
This is a big deal when you are on the road. I’m traveling in a Rav4, yes I have the ability to take a shower, but nothing compares to a REAL SHOWER!
If you are interested, I previously wrote about how I shower on the road. On this trip, I’m using a new method that I’m really liking. It’s quick, easy, and does a great job. If I have time, I’ll do a quick blog about it (if you’re interested, let me know because then I will have to do a post on it).
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
After a much-deserved shower and break in Grand Junction, I made my way to the Black Canyons.
I really don’t know much about this park, but I found a few trails on my phone app. It’s nice knowing that I have the ability to find hikes and not get lost!
Also, fun fact, if you don’t have cell reception (with I don’t most of the time, thanks to T-Mobile), go to the visitors center. Most parks have one, and they have free wifi. Better yet, download the maps you think you will need.
Apparently, this park is awesome for backpackers. There are a ton of signs about parking, permits needed, and other information. I, sadly, am not backpacking on this trip but did most of the shorter hikes.
There are a ton of places to pull over on the side of the road and look at this amazing park.
I almost felt as though this was a cousin to the Grand Canyon. It’s pretty amazing.
Another thing to note, it was hovering around 100 degrees when I was there. And, if you remember, I have water that I don’t really like. I did find a way that made it taste better, adding some Liquid IV to it!
I drove to the end of the road and was able to find the last parking spot. It was a good hike until I realized I forgot sunblock. So it was a good jog. Here are a few photos. See below.
At the bottom of the canyon
I read there was a trail that would lead you to the bottom of the 2,000′ canyon. But, due to time and wanting to get to Colorado, I sadly didn’t do it.
But, Tristan made a video about it and I had to include it. I’ve posted in the past about him, but he runs the SUVRVing website as well as one of my new favorites Adventure know-how.
Check out his very well-done video below.
Quick Side Note
I was driving on highway 50 towards my next destination. This highway is truly amazing as there are so many cool things to look at.
I’m thrilled that I stopped in the of Gunnison. There are a lot of shops, coffee, Walmart, and great gas prices.
Then there was something I didn’t expect, and that was getting to Monarch Peak. I was at this location as the sun was setting, and it was truly amazing. I was going to take photos, but there were so many bugs that it sounded like rain as I was driving.
It’s truly amazing all the wonders of this world. The best part is that when you don’t expect them!
Time To Find Camping
I know I’ve written about this over the last week and even over the years. But sometimes, it’s tough to find a camping spot.
Having three written down, I quickly learned that two of them didn’t exist anymore. And the other was on the side of the road and not flat.
I guess Google maps can only show you so much.
My solution, take a few breaks, but I just kept on driving. All the way until I found a Walmart. Yep, you read that right. I officially have stayed at a Walmart.
This was my first time, and I called ahead to make sure it was okay and was advised where to park. I got there after the store closed and noticed there were a ton of other vans, campers, trucks, and RVs. Two of the RVs had their generators on. I would go all into that, but I’ll leave that for another post.
I ended up sitting in my car for a while and found my gym a few miles away. What? Another shower, you bet!
After stretching out, a concise workout, and another SHOWER, I went back to the Walmart parking lot.
I just wanted to add this very quickly.
The first time sleeping in a Walmart parking lot was great. I really mean that.
I made sure to park away from all the RVs and fifth-wheels (they seem to be loud) and found an area to myself. I also made sure to set my alarm for when the store opened.
That made it so I could easily walk into the store, use the bathroom, and buy a few things. My thinking is if I sleep in a store’s parking lot, I will always make a purchase.
The Next Few Days
I’m happy that I will be spending some time with friends for the next few days.
There might be some hiking, but a lot of relaxing eating and beer drinking.
And, just as a plug (because I like doing this for businesses and companies I love), I got a tour of Mountain Ridge Gear! It was awesome, and if you haven’t checked them out, click the previous link or the image below. You won’t regret anything you buy from them.