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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Royal Gorge and Bridge, Canon City, Colorado

The Royal Gorge was far more spectacular than we were expecting.  The suspension bridge was built in 1929 and is almost 1000 ft above the Arkansas River in the valley below.  The bridge is now closed to traffic but open to pedestrians.

A railway line runs through the gorge, and that shiny long thing down there is the train.

Lots of rafting companies run tours, and I'm sure it would be a great experience.

Mesa Verde Wildlife

I had hoped to see more wildlife at Mesa Verde National Park, especially as we were out driving slowly through shortly after dawn.  We did see two coyote walking on the road, but I was only quick enough to photograph one.  They did not seem at all perturbed by our car.

Coyote shortly after sunrise.

This lizard was about 15cm long and sunning himself on a tree stump when eagle-eyed Richard spotted him for me.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cliff Dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park preserves a spectacular reminder of the Ancestral Pueblo People who lived in the Four Corners region. (Where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico borders all meet.) Some of the Pueblo people lived in cliff dwellings, some of which can be visited with a national park ranger.  It was an amazing experience to stand inside a cliff house and imagine living in one of these dwellings.

The site is huge.  This is just one of the canyons.

"Balcony House".  I toured this one which involved lots of ladders and crawling through a short tunnel.

"Cliff Palace"  This was likely home to about 120 people.

A closer view of Balcony House

A closer view of Cliff Palace.  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison is very impressive.  48 miles long and 2,770 ft deep, it was formed by hard rock uplifted then cut through by the fast-flowing Gunnison River for two million years.  It is named "black" not only for it's rock colour, but also because it is so deep, so sheer and so narrow that very little sunlight can penetrate down to the canyon floor.

It has been a mighty barrier to human migration, with only its rims, never the gorge showing evidence of human occupation.

Dillon Pinnacles, Gunnison

The Dillon Pinnacles are located beside the Blue Mesa Reservoir near Gunnison.  Our little walk from the overlook down to the water was a refreshing break from the 12 miles of roadworks with multiple stop/goes (more stop than go).  The water level is down as there has been a distinct lack of rain in these parts over the summer.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte (pronounced "beaut" for NZ'ers) is a ski town in Colorado which turns itself into a mountain biking town during the summer.  It must look even better with snow on the mountains.

The town is full of beautiful gardens and hanging baskets.

You can't take the skis out of a ski town.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Aspens at Aspen

Although there are aspen trees in Aspen the ones at Maroon Bells lake about ten miles out of town have already started to turn their autumn colours.  They will probably be at their most colourful in about a week's time, but still a bright yellow.  

I zoomed in on the bank across the valley.

Saw this yellow and black caterpillar on our walk today.