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Old 06-29-2013, 01:07 AM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,700 posts, read 4,339,330 times
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The Uncompaghre Plateau has long held me under its spell for reasons I can’t fully explain. It’s certainly no virgin wilderness. Cattlemen run their stock on many parts of the Plateau, and at one time it was also subjected to commercial logging operations. Logging roads and cattle trails run all over the Uncompahgre.

Still the Uncompahgre Plateau encompasses 1.5 million miles in far western Colorado – plenty of room to roam, and plenty of life zones to visit from the plains of its northern boundary with the Colorado River to 10,300 foot high Horsefly Peak. Plant communities include pinyon-Utah juniper, ponderosa pine, massive groves of Aspen interspersed with spruce and finally giving way to sub-alpine fir near the summit. There are wild flowers everywhere, including vast fields of sunflowers at lower elevations.

The Plateau is incised by many deep canyons separated by relatively flat mesas that generally run perpendicular to the summit ridge. Large canyons such as Big Red, Tabeguache, Spring Creek, Roubideau, Escalante, Big Dominquez, and Unaweep expose numerous geologic layers. The Plateau watersheds include four major drainages of the Colorado River (Dolores, Gunnison, San Miguel and Uncompahgre Rivers). These and the sharp escarpments found on the Plateau’s western side give a “bump and grind” to the topography that will fascinate any back roads wanderer.

And you can set the rocks up there on fire – a discovery made by a friend of mine who was trying to get a campfire going. There’s oil in them thar hills, but good luck getting it out – too expensive with today’s technology. Still you can take a few of those stones home and delight the neighborhood children by burning up ROCKS in front of their very eyes!

Read more here.

A few pix:

The first is the San Miguel River outside of Norwood - low, but still looking OK.





Then you go around a curve and - dead trees all up the San Miguel's canyon walls.





This is Norwood Hill - at the bottom of it, the Sanburn Road cuts left and begins the climb to the top of the Plateau.





A view of Lone Cone from the west side of the Uncompaghre - trees seem OK.





Except the trees are actually very unhappy - same mountain, different set of trees:





Here a dead aspen is going to fall across the road any time now:


Attached Thumbnails
Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-san-miguel-june13.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-dead-trees-san-miguel.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-norwood-hill.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-lone-cone.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-adifferent-view-lone-cone.jpg  

Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-dead-aspen-across-road.jpg  
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Bend, OR
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Ah, yes, I know the Uncompahgre well. The dead trees you are showing are both results of wildfires I believe. I spent a few springs helping with planting contracts down on the Norwood Ranger District when I was working for the GMUG in Grand Junction.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:45 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,700 posts, read 4,339,330 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
Ah, yes, I know the Uncompahgre well. The dead trees you are showing are both results of wildfires I believe. I spent a few springs helping with planting contracts down on the Norwood Ranger District when I was working for the GMUG in Grand Junction.
Yep, looked like wildfires to me. Gambel oaks were coming in like weeds in the aftermath. However, the aspen that looks like it's ready to fall across the road and the other trees near-by look like drought victims to my eyes.

There's been more fires than average, and you'll see stands of healthy spruce interspersed with ones with beetle. Then a burned stand, etc.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:53 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
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But all is not lost - many, many scenic areas remain. There was haze in the air the day I took these. As, a result these pix don't show the full glory of the Plateau. Someone in Nucla told me the haze was smoke from fires. Could have been.

These next 2 are duplicate pictures which the CD system doesn't seem to want me to delete. At least you can clearly see the haze in the one as compared to the one I photshopped trying for more clarity:








The former uranium mining town of Nucla located at the western base of the Plateau, still holds on:

Attached Thumbnails
Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-wildflowers-uncomphagre.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-view-san-juans.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-view-nucla.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-nucla.jpg   Summer Quarters in the Lost Corners - Part 2-uncomphagre-escarpment.jpg  


Last edited by Colorado Rambler; 06-29-2013 at 03:08 PM..
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Old 06-29-2013, 11:44 PM
 
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I love the area, too. Can't seem to shake it.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:44 PM
 
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Relatives have used the plateau for outdoor recreation for decades, but it's one of the few places in Colorado I have not been to yet.
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