13 March 2010

CANYONS OF THE ANCIENTS-COLORADO

I'd imagine pretty much everyone is familiar with Mesa Verde and it’s fabulous Anasazi ruins. But, there is a lesser-known place where you can view excellent ruins with far fewer people around to distract you from the siren calls of the ancients. It’s called Canyons of the Ancients. On the day I hiked the canyon I ran into one other person in a five hour period. My hike was in the middle of April not peak tourist season. But, even at peak I’d bet it would be far less crowded than Mesa Verde.

Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard


Canyons of the Ancients only fairly recently received National Monument status, Clinton approved the designation in 2000. The area contains a huge number of archeological sites, approximately 6,000 have been found.

Anasazi stands for “The Ancient Ones” and are also referred to as Ancestral Puebloans. Archaeologists estimate the Anasazi people lived in these canyons as early at 7500 B.C. By the 13th century the Anasazi had disappeared from the area. Nobody knows why they left or where they went. It remains a highly debated mystery.

Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard


I actually stumbled on this wonderful place by accident. My habit is to just take off and turn down any road that looks interesting or less traveled. I'm constantly trying to find nuggets that haven't been photographed to death. In any even it was a lucky day that I found this place.

It was a beautiful spring day with just the right mix of bright blue sky and puffy white clouds providing the perfect backdrop to the rich red rocks and sand. The twisted pinion pine made for some interesting and lovely settings.


Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard


I didn't capture any photos of the ruins that I thought were anything special. Although the ruins are endlessly interesting to see they don't inspire me, artistically, as much as the natural landscape. If you want to see some ruin images a Google search will provide you with thousands.

Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard
Canyon of the Ancients by Kinsey Barnard


Scroll back to the first image. This is the spot where Koty and I sat to ponder this land and all it's mysteries. The wind was blowing at just the right velocity to create a sound that seemed almost like the ghost whispers of the Ancients. Because there were no other people or distractions I was able to let my imagination run wild and it was almost like being one with the Anasazi.

In my opinion Canyons of the Ancients is one place you do not want to miss if you are in the area.

Before you go visit the BLM Information Center. No need to fly by the seat of your pants like I do.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

2 comments:

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Blue Sky said...

Some great photos there. This is a part of the world that I've not visited, but would certainly consider.