The Black Canyon of the Gunnison I

“I have seen the Canyonlands. Crooked lines like in your hands. You’ll swear the earth was split in two. I wouldn’t lie, I promise you, that I have seen it, you will too. You could not believe it, but for the photographs I took to you…”
–“Caroline”, Brandi Carlile.
A very appropriate lyric for a few pictures of the steep and narrow Black Canyon of the Gunnison, in central Colorado.

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Monarch Pass

Monarch Pass, at 11,312 feet, set a new elevation from me (taking it away from Red Mountain Pass, the previous day in the trip).
And then I busted that record by taking a tram to the top of Monarch Ridge (nearly 12,100 feet) at the pass. it’s relatively inexpensive and the views were amazing. It was windy and cold but the views made it all worthwhile.
Views like these:

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Mesa Verde National Park

Today we return to Mesa Verde National Park, and a picture from my tour of Cliff Palace, showing off some of the architecture.
Fun fact. See the “pit” in the lower middle foreground? That is called a kiva, and its an important structure that is common to the period. You find them in the cliff dwellings and the dwellings on top of the mesa, too. (Notice you can see a second one up and to the right, below the “tower”.
The function of Kivas were for religious ceremonies and as a place where inhabitants could gather together to work on things communally. (At the time of use, there would be a roof or “lid”. With a smoke hole in the center of the lid and an ingenious air hole system, you could be nice and comfortable and get stuff done, and see your neighbors. The Starbucks coffee shop of its day!

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