A Jam Packed 24 hours


We left Canyonlands mid day on Monday and got a hotel in Montrose, Co. We were greeted with a fabulous view of the snow topped Rocky Mts.  Scott took the kids swimming while I did laundry.  Then we splurged and went out for dinner at Applebees.  It was a welcome change from fast food/Subway. 

The next day we hit Black Canyon of the Gunnison!


This was a hard park to fully comprehend.  The canyon here is crazy deep, yet narrow.  As we stood on top and looked down at the Gunnison River our minds couldn’t fully grasp how far down we were looking. 

The best view of the canyon was at the Painted Rock overlook. 


IMG_3278I hate to use a prop but I think this sign helps give a real appreciation of the depth and magnitude of the canyon. 

That’s the cross section at the point in the canyon pictured above.  It really helped us understand what we were looking at.


The highlight of our day was a 1.8 mile hike we took.  Interestingly enough, the best part wasn’t the view at the end… though it was nice… but it was the view on the way of the Rockies off to the side.  I loved looking out over them.  We also saw two lizards that looked much like the lizard we saw at The Petrified Forest. Also, it was a great hike because there weren’t steep cliffs on the side… Momma could save all her freaking out for the overlook at the end.  This was a welcome surprise.  Our little man proved to be a great hiker.  He walked the whole way to the overlook on his own two feet.  Once we arrived at the overlook and posed for pictures, he was very sleepy.  He then had the sweetest deal as Mom and Dad took turns carrying him back while he slept. We all noticed the elevation difference in this hike (especially those of us carrying an extra 30+lbs)

black canyon college 7


The kids again achieved a Junior Ranger badge at this park.  This park had a booklet that our youngest could “complete” with the help of Mom and he was able to get his first Junior Ranger badge.  He was so, so excited.  As he walked away after getting his badge, he said, “Momma, now I’m happy!” and “I’m a Junior Ranger!" over and over.  It was pretty darn cute. 




We left Black Canyon later than we had anticipated.  On our way we took an extended stop in the town of Gunnison for dinner.  We spotted an awesome playground, so we doubled back, ordered a take out pizza and had a pizza picnic dinner at the playground.   The kids declared these the fastest slides they’d ever been on. 


That was a whirlwind 24 hours and then we drove on to Great Sand Dune National Park.  We arrived after 11:30pm.  The midnight tent set up was totally worth it though (even though we couldn’t inflate our air mattress) as the playground was a fun stop for us all.


  1. That was a pretty terrific day!! You have some pretty incredible pictures. Just love how the youngest got his badge too!!!! :-)

  2. Sometimes it's those last minute decisions that make the best memories! Glad you had such a fun-filled day. And congrats to your junior-est ranger! Tell them all how proud we are!

  3. You've got some happy campers there. Have they been this happy the whole time?!


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