The Red Canyon of the Gunnison

Dear Isaac and Maia,

Yesterday brought Maizzy’s last hike at Dominquez Canyon on the Gunnison River. The canyon is my favorite local red rock canyon and is located between Montrose and Grand Junction. It is interesting to see how different is looks than the more famous Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. I remember going to the National Park with you.

Old bridge off to the right of the trail on the way to Dominguez Canyon

Cycles are part of life. Like Christmas, I have a lot of celebrations across the calendar year. For Saint Patrick’s Day, we do to Dominguez Canyon. IDK how this started, but Maizzy and I started hiking the local canyons in the spring the year I got her. I always feel like spring comes earlier to the desert . . . because it does. Soon, it will be too hot to hike there until fall. Spring is the season of canyons.

The trail to Dominguez Canyon

Speaking of cycles, I am going to have Maizzy put down on 4/9. I was hoping for the day off, but time for me is a pipe dream right now. I still hope for the afternoon. It is going to be hard, but she is ready. We will have a repeat of her 16th birthday party next weekend. She is old and confused, so dependent on me. I don’t think she is in pain, but she doesn’t know much about what is going on around her anymore. I am both sad and relieved by this decision.

The Bridgeport walking bridge from a distance

Maizzy can’t hike at all now, so I carried her in the new front pack I got for her from New Zealand. I really like it – but all the packs are hard on my back. Sazi walked part of the way without her wheels, although I carried them. She road most of the way in her backpack. She, unlike Maizzy, is still full of life but her IVDD limits her hiking.

The Gunnison River in Dominguez Canyon

It definitely dampens my fun to carry two dogs for miles. I almost dread that part of hiking. I take less photos from under the walking pile of disabled dogs. But, it was great that Maizzy got one more Saint Patrick’s Day in the Canyon.

The waterfall at Dominguez Canyon

The red walls are a remarkable color and hue. The natural varnish looks like it is dripping down, like frosting from a cake. The Gunnison River, in contrast, is a pale green color right now. Perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day.

Maizzy at the waterfalls in Dominguez, 2021
Younger Maizzy at Dominguez Canyon in 2014 (our first trip here together.)
Sazi at the waterfalls yesterday.
Kachina at the waterfalls at Dominguez yesterday

We walked all the way to the waterfall, our normal stopping point. I want to go further once I am not carrying a dog heap with me. I have been carrying both dogs at least part of the way for 3 years. That makes me tired just thinking about it. There are petroglyphs that aren’t that much further, but enough further that we haven’t made it. We got close once and Maizzy overheated (she still walked back then), so I packed her out. That was 3- 4 years ago and the last time she walked halfway.

Runoff flowing through the usually dry potholes at Dominguez Canyon

Anyway, I mostly enjoyed a day without the stress of work. I can’t wait to work less and hike more.

Railroad tracks at Dominguez Canyon

Love, GMH

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