Day 3
Top of the Rockies - Independence Pass - Aspen -
West Elk Loop - Gunnison

As Colorado Highway 92 veered south from Hotchkiss, the scene became more desert-like.  Rain still appeared a likelihood.
A rock structure on a distant mesa caught Judy's attention.

Bottom left and right:  Colorado 92 provides spectacular views along the north rim of Black Canyon, fields of alpine wildflowers, and pastoral settings of the Crystal and Gunnison Rivers.  Some of the hardest and oldest rocks on earth form the sheer walls of 2,000-foot deep Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  The river cutting through the canyon falls faster than any other in North America, dropping 2,150 feet in under 50 miles, and the canyon bottom is so rugged that there are no trails along it.  Unlike Grand Canyon with its layers of exposed rock, the Black Canyon is basically one solid hunk of stone.

Above left and right:  Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison.

Left:  Pat and Judy stop to enjoy the view near Sapinero.

We arrived in Gunnison tired but happy after covering 270 miles, some of it in the rain.   A small Italian Restaurant with very tiny booths proved to be an unexpectedly excellent dining experience. 

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