Delta, Colorado – June 2015 We drove a whole 39 miles south from our last camp to the town of Delta. The house we had last occupied back in Missouri was supposed to close at the end of the week and although we had signed the bulk of the documents at a title company before leaving Grand Junction, we needed to be reachable until the actual closing on Friday afternoon. There were still a hundred things that could go wrong between now and then and we did not want to be out of touch for long.
Delta kept us in civilization with 4 bars and 4G but nearer to the places we wanted to visit. Because we knew we had to sit tight for a whole week we chose to take advantage of the weekly rate at Valley Sunset RV Ranch. Most campgrounds weekly rate is equivalent to about 6 days at their regular rate. Valley Sunset’s rates were no exception at $25 per day or $150 per week plus tax. The park had about a hundred sights and all but about 20 appeared to be occupied by full timers. It was pretty well maintained though and a good value.
We were most excited about visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We had made a brief stop there on a family road trip 15 years ago and were smitten. If we hadn’t needed to stay in cell phone reach we would definitely have camped near it. As usual, things worked out for the best. Although we were still very impressed with the canyon, there really was not that much to do there. There were not many developed trails on the South Rim, and even fewer on the North Rim (a 2 hour drive away). I would like to go back and spend a couple of nights camping there the next time we are in Colorado. It is very remote and I bet the night sky is amazing.
I still love this place. It is like a mini Grand Canyon but in greys and greens instead of red hues.
We took the hike to Warner Point. It was a little over 1 ½ miles roundtrip with around 500 feet in elevation change. I was surprised how winded we got. This was our first hike at any sort of altitude and the 8500 foot elevation really made a difference. But the views were definitely worth it.
If you visit I recommend taking the time drive the East Portal Road. The Gunnison Diversion Dam is very scenic and you can walk down to the river below it.
The road down to the dam was fun. It is about 8 miles, paved, and has up to a 16% grade. I wouldn’t want to try that with the trailer in tow!
Wednesday we took a drive to Basalt, Colorado to some fishing. Google said it was a 2 ½ hour drive. We hoped to make it in 2 but with road construction we were lucky we made it in 3. The scenic drive alone was worth the trip. There were gorgeous waterfalls everywhere from the snowmelt. And we stopped to check out these strange ovens along the road in Redstone. They were used to make coke fuel from coal mined in the area in the late 1800’s.
Jim had a great time fishing the gold medal waters of the Fryingpan River just below the dam 14 miles upstream of Basalt. We expected crowds and were pleased to only see a half dozen other fisherman while we were there. They have very strict guidelines regarding what trout you can keep. He caught 3 trout; a brown too small to bother with and two rainbow which have to be released. One rainbow was probably 3 pounds and he was pleased to have landed it on a 2 pound leader. I rarely fish but enjoyed walking along the river while Jim did. I think he got the better workout, trudging around in soaking wader boots and fighting 14 inch trout.
Thursday and Friday we had to stay close to town because of the closing and then about noon Friday, when we found out the deal was done, it started raining and poured for two days. By Saturday afternoon we were so stir crazy we said to heck with the rain, threw on our coats, and drove to the Gunnison River for a walk. It was not one of our best hikes, but we were grateful for the fresh air.
Sunday dawned clear and sunny. We packed a lunch and headed to the Grand Mesa area, another beautiful drive. Our original destination, Island Lake, was still frozen over. But we found a group of lakes at a slightly lower elevation that were not. The fishing wasn’t great. I think the fish were still hibernating. Jim did get one bite and the fish snapped his 2 pound leader without ever breaking water so we’ll never know what he had on the line. We only saw one person catch anything, a small rainbow trout. So we took a hike. Some of the trails were still covered in several feet of snow but the trail around Beaver Lake was mostly clear. The snow melting and running into the lakes was beautiful.
It was a lovely day and a great ending to our week in Delta.