Heading for the Grand Mesa
Leaving the expressway behind and heading for the Lands End Road opened up a beautiful view of the Grand Mesa ahead of us right away. If we needed any more encouragement this was it, and just got better and better as we followed the pavement to a dirt road up the mountain side.
The Grand Mesa is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world with an area of about 500 square miles and stretches between the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers (yes, the one that created the Black Canyon of the Gunnison). It rises to about 11,000 feet, a whole 6,000 feet above the surrounding valleys! And yes, it is flat on top. From a distance it looks like someone simply cut the top half of the mountain off. Fortunately, that is not the case like with many mountains in the Appalachia where coal mining companies did just that! Here, the flat top is thanks to the mountain's volcanic basalt top preventing the same level of erosion as the surrounding areas.