Abajo Peaks, Sunset Sunbeams

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Sunbeams over the Abajo Mountains, just east of Monticello.

Driving west from Colorado into Utah on highway 491, I was watching a small storm front approach from the west.

Snow showers swirling around the Abajo Mountains, which are often called “the Blues” by the locals in Monticello, Utah.

Almost sunset. The sun too high for colors, but it streamed through the shifting clouds in dazzling fashion.

I had to pull over to the side of the highway to get a shot. It’s what I do, after all.

Photo location: Highway 491, San Juan County, southeast Utah.

See more of my photography at www.NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg | Stephen Krieg Photographics

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Square Tower House, Mesa Verde

Square Tower House ruin ancestral pueblo site, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

I am beginning to think that my favorite ancient site in Mesa Verde National Park is Square Tower House.

Oh, it’s famous, all right, being easily viewed from a short walk from the Mesa Top Loop road, which is open year around (weather permitting in winter, of course). But not nearly so famous as Cliff Palace, the largest such cliff dwelling site in the Southwest.

So the other day I again drove out the Mesa Top Loop in the early evening. Springtime. Crowds very light. An early spring, shrubs leafing out.

And at this time of year, with the days lengthening quickly, the sunlight is still low enough that in late afternoon the alcoves (overhanging cliffs) that are facing south are nicely lit up. A great time to visit the park, before the crush of summer crowds.

As far as Square Tower itself, the three story tower dominates the site, as it surely was meant to do. Imagine yourself living at that time. Imagine building that…with nothing but stone tools. No metal tools. No beasts of burden: horses hadn’t yet been introduced to North America by the Spanish. Nothing larger than their dogs. Only human labor and dedication to creating something awesome.

Photo location: Mesa Verde National Park, southwest Colorado.

See more of my photography at www.NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg / Stephen Krieg Photographics

Mesa Verde North Rim, Early Spring

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado - North Rim after snowfall.

North Rim, Mesa Verde after early springtime snowfall.

Late March in southwest Colorado means very varying weather. Sunshine, warming earth, high country snows melting and swelling the creeks and rivers with cold, silt-laden runoff.

Also occasional late cold fronts, with snow.

The other morning I had to drive back up into Mesa Verde National Park to go to work. I had been following the weather forecasts and had left extra early. The highways down in the Montezuma Valley (6,200 feet elevation) had been cleared by the highway crews. But when you start up into the park, the road rising to a high point of 8,572 feet at Park Point, then down to 7,000 feet at the main services around the Museum on Chapin Mesa, it’s a different world.

Mesa Verde National Park, Montezuma Valley Overlook, springtime snow.

Montezuma Valley Overlook, springtime snowfall.

On this morning, a slippery highway. The snow plows were out at 7AM, heading out toward the park entrance. No one else on the road this early in the day and this early in the season.

As daylight grew, I was able to pull off and take some quick photos. Especially because in a few hours the sun would have changed the snowy scene dramatically.

Photo location: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

To see more of my photography, visit my website at www.NaturalMoment.com.

© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg