Hold the Phone! A smoky, windy trip to Black Canyon of the Gunnison N Rim

Dear Maia and Isaac,

I am committed to camping every other weekend all season – except July. July is the roadtrip and daylily season. That is enough. So, it is August and we are back on the road with our dog-friendly camping trips!

Crawford State Park reservoir

This weekend, we traveled to Crawford State Park, which is only about an hour away. This is another trip I felt a little ambivalent about because part of me wants to be working on my business. It is the weekend before school starts and it is really good quality dog-time, so we went. This time, we did Th-F to avoid the campground crouds.

Wildfire sunset at Crawford State Park, CO

We left Thursday late afternoon after I dilly-dallied around way too long. We didn’t get there until 6 ish. I was surprised at the amount of smoke over the reservoir as I set-up camp. I guess the wind shifted back to wildfire mode and the monsoons are gone. I also realized somewhere along the way that I left my camera home. July is over-the-top for photos, so I decided that my new phone would do fine.

Blue sky over Paonia, CO

It is kind of funny now with training Moki and Kachina because we practiced all the commands at out site. I sort of laugh wondering what our neighbors thought! I was looking forward to my book that night, until I remembered that I forgot my Kindle, too. Ugh, went to bed early because I hadn’t downloaded any books to the phone yet.

Entrance to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, CO

This trip, we camped at Iron Creek Campground. I honestly had no plans for our time here but figured Paonia for lunch and the Black Canyon North Rim are good bets. So, that’s exactly what we did.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, North Rim

The place I love to eat in Paonia is no longer dog friendly, so we walked around town first to see what was open. I always like to stop at the little flower shop there and – OMG – they had begonias. So, I had to bring one home with us. Eventually, we ended up at the Mexican restaurant that had a back porch. I went inside to ask about the dogs and was told “yes”.

Moki, Kachina, Sazi and I pose in the wind.

It was cool enough that it was comfortable to sit while we waited for our food – yes, it was tacos, again. The flies sucked, but it is that season. I played catch-up on my phone because the campsite is off the grid. Maybe it is a good thing – I sometimes order stuff while we are camping because I have time to think about new things. Plus, I downloaded books for tonight! It was slow service with one guy sort-of running the whole place and we had the porch to ourselves. We finally left about 2 PM.

Headwinds: Moki, Kachina and Sazi

We got to the Black Canyon North Rim around 3. This is the most mellow National Park entrance in the world, I think. Just a dirt road and a sign. A few other cars off an on, but it isn’t Petrified Forest or Arches. I noticed it was clear, the sky was blue with clouds and I wondered where all the smoke from yesterday went.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, North Rim

I did some road-side photos, but the dogs are allowed out on the short hikes to overlooks. We did a couple of those. What became instantly obvious was WIND. At the one stop, it was so bad that Sazi was wheezing. It sure made for clear photos – but holding my phone up for the photos was nerve wrecking because it felt strong enough to whisk the phone down to the bottom of the canyon floor. At one stop, some other visitors offered to take our photo.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, North Rim

The Black Canyon is interesting geology. Nothing else on earth quite like it – harder than cement (I got a stress fracture hiking on it a decade ago). The canyon is deep and not always relaxing with my fear of heights. Still, I love the beauty enough to endure the fear. It was nice little hikes for my dogs – just the right length with the heat and wind.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, North Rim

We got back to camp around 5. It was hot and windy – but now I had books to read. I downloaded a book about having a store on Etsy which was interesting because I need some strategies to get my business going. It feels like life gets taken over by everything else and I need to shift away from “hobby” to “business” mentality. I worry with school starting that I will get sidetracked. The book helped me see that people can be really successful on Etsy, but it takes focus.

The road back to Crawford State Park

We practiced dog commands, ate, read more and slept.

Sazi needs a haircut!

I slept late (for a tent) and it still felt cool. I looked out and I thought at first it might be rain clouds because the sky was dark grey. But, then reality sunk in that it was smoke. Below is a before and after photo (one of sunset last night in the wind, one this AM with no wind). Find the trees – this is the same photo. It felt depressing – like Armegedon or something. We were going to eat on the porch in Hotchkiss, but I decided just to go home and get out of the smoke.

Sunset from Crawford State Park 8.6.21
Same photo as above the following morning with the smoke that came in overnight.

Last camping trips booked – Curecante in 2 weeks, then Mancos for Labor Day, Hovenweep for the annual DNP graduation trip and CO National Monument for the first weekend in October. The days will be decidedly getting shorter by then!

Love, GMH

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