Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Curecanti National Recreation Area and Blue Mesa Reservoir in Colorado


When my husband and I left Crested Butte on our visit at the end of September, (click here and here to read those posts) to drive to the Back Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (click here to read that post), we had to drive on US Highway 50 through the Curecanti National Recreation Area and over the Blue Mesa ReservoirThis area in Colorado has an unusual natural beauty.
(All photos will enlarge if clicked on)



The Curecanti National Recreational Area is a series of three reservoirs along the Gunnison River. The reservoirs are a destination for water-based recreation high in the Rocky Mountains. Best known for salmon and trout fishing, Curecanti also offers opportunities for hiking, boating, camping, and bird watching.  A National Park Service PDF shows the size and layout of the area--click here to view.



Seen above are the Dillon Pinnacles in the Curecanti National Recreation Area, located above the Lake Fork section of the Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison, Colorado. They are high craggy rock formations, made of eroded West Elk Breccia, a composite rock spewed from the volcanic West Elk Mountains 30 million years ago.



It is impossible to pass the pinnacles without being impressed at their sharply eroded appearance.




There is a 2.8-mile trail that leads through the area's high desert landscape of sagebrush and stubby alpine trees to the base of the Dillon Pinnacles. The trail begins at 7,526 feet altitude. with a total elevation gain of 741 feet.



The Blue Mesa Reservoir in the Curecanti National Recreation Area is the largest body of water in Colorado, spanning 20 miles and boasting 96 miles of shoreline. It is also the largest Kokanee salmon fishery in the U.S. and receives a copious stocking of brown, rainbow, and mackinaw trout. Unfortunately, recent years of drought and low snowfall have made the reservoirs levels reduce to historic low levels. As of this writing, it is only at 39% capacity.  I am hoping that this winter will bring back normal levels of snowfall to rectify this problem. Colorado rivers supply water to many western states.

A view of the Blue Mesa Dam, completed in 1966, which is situated at a narrows in the river valley where the Gunnison River enters the upper reaches of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  


Driving further on I could see the Gunnison River flowing into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, an area of deep erosion created by the river flowing into this area over millions of years.  To see more of the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon go to my blog post on this link.



After leaving the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park we drove again on US Highway 50 to return to Crested Butte.


 In this part of the drive, we passed cattle ranches...



...and just a small bit of autumn color among the mainly sagebrush-covered hills.




We then again passed by the reservoirs of the Curecanti National Recreation Area. You can take a park ranger-led boat ride into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison during a leisurely 1½ hour boat tour on the Morrow Point Reservoir during the months of June till mid-September.


I couldn't help but laugh when we drove past this sign for the "Bay of Chickens" in the Curecanti National Recreation Area. Curiosity about its name leads me to many online searches without success, except that I learned it has a facebook page and that it is a pleasant beach stop along the Blue Mesa with a picnic and swimming area, but has no chickens.


Some more views of the picturesque Curecanti National Recreation Area and the Blue Mesa.


In about two hours we were back in the Crested Butte area.....


 ...and as you can see from this photo this is the way I take many of my travel photos from the road--pointing my camera at the views outside our car window as we drive along.


It seems to work!

Mount Crested Butte

Soon after leaving Crested Butte and returning to the Denver area of Colorado, my husband and I flew to New York to attend a very special anniversary party for my older brother and sister-in-law, and also to enjoy a few days at the very eastern end of Long Island in Montauk. More about that trip on my next post!


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47 comments:

Ruth Hiebert said...

Beautiful set of photos. The variety of scenery available for our enjoyment is simply endless.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Pat, I enjoyed seeing your lovely photos of the reservoirs and the beautiful blue skies and puffy clouds! The craggy mountains are quite unusual. I take a lot of photos from our car as well. I'd say your's are wonderful! ♥

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thank you all for your comments--I read and appreciate them all. All comments are under moderation and will be published on my approval.

I'm sorry I cannot answer comments left anonymously as I have no way of getting back to you if you do not leave an e-mail address.

Happy November!

diane b said...

Beautiful countryside as usual. Interesting about the water supplying the west, Great shots from a moving car.

riitta k said...

What stunning sceneries you have witnessed! The blue sky and the blue water - they just popped on my screen <3 Happy MM.

Anonymous said...

I'm really impressed along with your writing skills and also with the structure for
your blog. Is that this a paid theme or did you
modify it your self? Either way stay up the nice quality writing, it's rare
to see a great blog like this one today..

Bill Nicholls said...

Stunning the sky makes you squint your eyes even on the laptop

eileeninmd said...

Hello, there is so much to see in Colorado. This is a beautiful area, lovely views of the reservoir and mountains. The fall colors are gorgeous. Beautiful collection of photos. Happy Monday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

Jeanie said...

Sometimes you open a post and you just gasp out loud when you see the photos. Did you hear me? Oh, what I wouldn't give for blue sky right now!

Linda W. said...

Gorgeous scenery! Looks like you had perfect weather for your drive.

William Kendall said...

Amazing landscapes! You've photographed them beautifully.

Photo(Geo)grapher said...

What a wonderful place to visit! Beautiful collection of photos.

Tom said...

...these take my breath away! Gorgeous, thanks for sharing.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Your photography is just stunning!

Lydia C. Lee said...

That blue is AMAZING!

ellen b. said...

The color and clarity in your photos is amazing. Happy Mosaic Monday to you!

betty-NZ said...

Wow! You have definitely found some fantastic beauty, again!! Love the Bay of Chickens and I'm glad you found some info in it! We have pinnacles, but none as gorgeous as those you shared.

Martha Z said...

Nice images, it's sad to see the rivers and reservoirs so low.

Angie said...

Pat - thanks for adding this beauty to MM this week! Your thumbnail just jumps off the page! I had to chuckle when you wrote that you "had to drive on Highway 50" - ha! For any of the rest of us, it would be a privilege … just joking, my dear - I know what you meant! It is concerning that the reservoir is only at 39% capacity - I am praying that we all get good snowfall/precipitation this winter.

Barb said...

Looks like you were in the Crested Butte area at a very pretty time of the year, Pat. All those ancient aspens must be gorgeous in the fall. I like seeing all the photos of your trip to Blue Mesa. My friends tell me we got 15" of snow in Breckenridge, so I think winter has already started there. We're still in CA.

d Nambiar said...

What gorgeousness!!
Those are some great photographs, btw. :)

Lady Fi said...

Fabulous blues and autumn colours!

molly said...

That very first image is absolutely outstanding

Mollyx

Mother of 3 said...

Wow! So beautiful!

LV said...

I so enjoy your blog. Colorado my very favorite state. You share placed I have not seen. So much beauty there.

Jeanna said...

Bay of chickens, lol. Really impressive photos, they look like paintings. I really like the shots with the houses, especially the one with the dilapidated roof. Everything is so blue and pristine. Cool shot of the river.

Lorrie said...

Wonderful photos, Pat. The blue water of the lake in the first photo is stunning! The pinnacles would be a wonder to see. Hope you enjoyed your visit away from Colorado.

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

That little bit of color certainly did pop in its surroundings. You get terrific photos right from your car...I'm sure a nice camera and a good photographer helps. :)

A Colorful World said...

Absolutely gorgeous scenes!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

When I take drive-by pictures, they are snapshots (at best) ... yours are beautiful professional-looking photographs! This was a beautiful drive -- we've been to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison (I am catching up so haven't read it yet) ... but we certainly didn't drive this way ... something else for my list! (I certainly wouldn't mind another visit to either end of your trip along this road).

junieper said...

The blues of the skies come out so strongly here. Love the rugged Dillon Pinnacles, as well as the Gunnison river flowing deep down, into the Black Canon. And your last 3 images show the brights of Fall in the lower areas! Boy nature has spoiled Colorado and lucky for you to live there! Many thanks for sharing it with All Seasons! jesh

csuhpat1 said...

Wow, such beautiful photos. Very nice. #Ablogginggoodtime

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

You've got a good camera to be able to focus as you are going down the road! Some of your photos don't look real...they look like paintings! I'm so glad you are enjoying living there and sharing your pics with us! Hugs!

Jill said...

Beautiful! And look at those incredibly blue skies! Colorado is always so beautiful.

Michelle said...

Gorgeous view and I know you are soaking them up and enjoying your life in Colorado. Thanks for linking up today. I appreciate following you on FB and Instagram :)

Mackenzie Glanville said...

it looks so peaceful, just gorgeous, like you're almost alone in the world, nature is gorgeous isn't it! #AbloggingGoodTime

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

The mountains in the fall are very beautiful with the quaking aspen trees. I have not seen them myself in years. Your photos are gorgeous.

carol l mckenna said...

Awesome places and gorgeous skies! Beautiful! USA!

Happy Day to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

ps. Wonderful to hear you and your oldest grand daughter are painting rocks! Feel connected with you ^_^

bill burke said...

What beautiful landscape scenes, they are so pretty.

Louca por porcelana said...

Stunning landscapes!Just breathtaking!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

So many great photos and a wonderful tour! Those sharply eroded pinnacles are amazing. Beautiful photo of Mount Crested Butte!

Rambling Woods said...

Wow...I love the rock formations....but all of the scenery is amazing..Michelle

Al said...

That's a beautiful area - another one to add to my must-see list.

photodoug said...

Mille, Montauk is a great area. Thanks for sharing.

Lowcarb team member said...

Such beautiful photographs, the scenery is wonderful.

All the best Jan

indah nuria Savitri said...

Such a wonderful place to be! I love to see this place again..we went here once!

Michele Wendt said...

Those photos are just breath-taking! I really hope to be able to visit a place as beautiful as this some day. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at the Whimsical Wednesdays Link Party. Have a great week!