6/09/2014

June 4, 2014 Travel to Curecanti National Recreation Area

We left Grand Junction early this morning and made our way south and east on US-50. The topography changed from small rolling hills:

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (2)

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (13)

to bigger rolling hills:

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (18)

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (22)

We went over a few summits that were in the 8300’ range – WOW!.  But the valleys were around 7000’ – still very high.

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (38)

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (42)

We passed many farms and ranches and roads that went into the unknown:

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (55)

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (61)

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (62)

And wildflowers everywhere – Smile:

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (72)

To:

06-04-14 A Travel Grand Junction to Curecanti (78)

Where we got a spot facing the Blue Mesa Lake:

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (6)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (2)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (8)

The campground has three levels and we are on the top level. It is mostly a fishing/boating campground but the view was great and only $6.00/night.  There is water available and a dump station nearby.

After setting up we drove to the Visitor Center at Elk Creek, about 12 miles east of us. Views along the way:

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (17)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (20)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (23)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (37)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (44)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (47)

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (55)

Blue Mesa Reservoir as well as Morrow Point, and Crystal Dam are part of the Wane N. Aspinall Unit dams of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Upper Colorado River Storage Project.  Blue Mesa serves as the main storage reservoir.  Morrow Point Dam generates most of the power and Crystal Dam maintains an even flow through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest body of water in Colorado and has developed into a premier coldwater fishery with kokanee salmon and rainbow trout dominating the catches.

This year due to the large snow pack that is now melting along with the rains, Blue Mesa is filling at the rate of 1-2 FEET A DAY – WOW!  They are also trying to hold back many water releases due to the flooding further on down the Colorado.  And because of the level instability in the Morrow Point Reservoir, those boat tours were cancelled – Sad smile  (This tour goes thru one of the narrow canyons.)  But they have replaced it with a tour of Blue Mesa Reservoir with a ranger that talks about the history of the area and the dams.  So we signed up and are heading out tomorrow.

On our way back, we stopped at a pullout directly across from the campground that talked about one of the towns that was submerged when the dam was built:

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (56)a

The campground/marina – if you look closely to the right side, you can see our flag:

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (58)

And always the beautiful mountains:

06-04-14 B Curecanti NRA Area (61)

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon/evening by the campfire looking out over the lake.

Enjoy today.

Miles Traveled:  102 Miles

Routes Traveled:

Colorado:  25 1/2 Road; Independent Avenue; North 4th Street; US-50

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2 comments:

Judith Bell said...

It seems different to see such big lakes in what otherwise looks like a parched landscape.

Diane said...

That it does - :-)