A sure sign that late summer has begun across the southern Colorado Plateau is the flowering of Rabbitbrush. Especially when you have a butterfly seemingly pose for you in the sunlight.
From Cliff Palace it was on across the rest of the northern edge of Mesa Verde. I hadn’t visited Cedar Tree Tower in a while. Time to fix that.
The concept of building small towers out of adobe at Mesa Verde (and elsewhere in the region) is fascinating to think about. For what purpose? You don’t do anything this labor intensive just for fun.
At Cedar Tree Tower, there is also the stabilized foundation of a kiva, a subterranean circular room used for ceremonial purposes, as well as other activities. Most interestingly at this site, there is a small tunnel between the two. So the tower had no outside doorway. You got into the tower via the kiva, or not at all.
The area around Cedar Tree Tower was burned by the immense Chapin 5 Fire in 1996. Thus the “Cedar” tree that gives it its name — actually a Utah Juniper — was burned to the ground.
As usual I paused to examine some fine examples of Broadleaf ( or Banana) Yucca (Yucca baccata). At this time of year their fat green seed pods must look like watermelons to the wildlife.
The yucca’s green, long, needle tipped “leaves” have curly white fibers that are fascinating to a photographer. At least to this one.
Photo location: Mesa Verde National Park, southwest Colorado.
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© Copyright 2016 Stephen J. Krieg