WHITEWATER AND UNAWEEP CANYON,
Left, subtle colors in the brush near Whitewater. The area beyond is called "The Stinking Desert." Center, a view of Grand Mesa from Whitewater. The mesa loses its snow in summer. Right, Driggs Mansion, further down the highway toward Gateway; built and abandoned in the 1800s.
Unaweep Canyon, on the road from Whitewater to Gateway. Left, the road leads off the highway onto the plateau. Looking east, Grand Mesa appears blue in the distance. Center and right, Unaweep Canyon seen from the same road. "Leaving Whitewater and crossing the Gunnison River, Colorado 141 plunges almost immediately into Unaweep Canyon, one of the most unusual and interesting canyons in Colorado, and passes crosswise through the very heart of the Uncompahgre Plateau. . . . First lifted by faulting in Pennsylvanian time, this area was part of Uncompahgria, one of the two island ranges of the Ancestral Rockies." ~ Roadside Geology of Colorado
Gateway is on the road from Whitewater to the San Juan Mountains in western Colorado. There is also a Gateway near Denver, but this isn't it. The one near Denver has about 5,000 people, while this one has about 300 or so. These towering bluffs near Highway 141 are composed of Wingate Sandstone, deposited by wind during the Triassic period. This layer was usually buried about 350 feet deep, later exposed by erosion.
These two pictures were also taken near Gateway. Layered sandstone formations are seen through the trees near Highway 141. For an idea of the size of the massive land form on the left, note the cows in the lower right-hand corner of the photo. You may want to click through to enlarge the picture.
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All photos are © Copyright Sheryl Todd and Marco Herranz.
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