Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cottonwood Pass/Taylor Reservoir

This is the Shortcut to Gunnison from Buena Vista. We have been avoiding this road as the Gunnison side is gravel, and it goes up to 12,100. But today we felt we had adjusted to the altitude sufficiently to head on up.

We skipped taking photos of the trip up as it was the run of the mill mountain road, with beds and breakfasts, the occasional ranch and so forth. But once at the top, the view was necessary to record. The little tundra pool was not frozen in late August. They tell me that it usually is.

A little more to the right you can see more of the mountains in the distance.

This is the road we just came up. We are above the trees, and the switchback was quite sharp on the last several turns. The steering wheel has permanent finger dents in it now.

I didn't take any pictures of the 15 miles of gravel that led down to Taylor Reservoir. It was narrow and didn't have any guard rails. Places the road was barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Around the switch backs the road tended to washboard. This would cause your axle to hop as you put on the brakes. I opted for first gear for much of the first five miles. This was the steepest. After that I used second gear and sporadic brakes to keep under 30 miles per hour.

I had been told that the lake was one of the most beautiful in Colorado. It was the prize at the end of the bad road. This was taken from the side and almost into the sun.

We sat at this pull out for a while, absorbing the picture. This is from the South end looking back to the North the full length of the lake.

Turned a little more to the West. I needed a tripod so I could have taken a panoramic set of shots. The clouds move and the stitching isn't always the best but you get the idea.

We drove by the dam at the South end of the lake and began to follow the river as it headed down. This one moves fast as it looses altitude rapidly.

Not too many places to pull out, as the river is posted that it is on private property. We climbed the fence and stood on top to get these shots. We were pulled to the side of the road, but not completely off. I had the four way blinkers on and no one seemed to have any problem.

This is looking back upstream from the same spot.

I had to lean way out to get around the bushes, but you can see the rapids downstream.

The road winds down thru the canyon to the left. We had 30 miles of this scenery. Not too shabby.

We ended up back in Gunnison, on the same road that we were on, coming from Crested Butte yesterday. It may be shorter, but we took more time coming down, looking at everything and driving slooooow on the gravel.

This is by far our favorite day trip, since we have been here in Buena Vista. The car is muddy, as we passed a water truck that was wetting the road down for a road grader. We passed him next, but they were both going uphill as we were coming down.

Loyce was very specific, that we were not going back up the gravel to get home. We came back the longer way over Monarch pass, but it was faster by at least a half hour. You can drive 40 to 50 MPH on the good US highway.

Tonight we went to Quincy's a steak house in downtown BV. They were in a very old storefront with the shiny silver metal ceiling. Their menu only had one thing. Fillet Mignon! Your choices were 6,9,12,or 15. Ounces that is. We both had 9 Medium. The potato was baked, with butter and sour cream. Salad had house dressing. No other choices.

Loyce convinced them to put the butter and sour cream on the side. I think I still have steak grease on my face. Oh my, what a day!

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