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Photographer's Note

This photo was taken at the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area and National Historic Site in the mountains of the San Juan National Forest of south-west Colorado. The smaller thinner rock spire on the right gives the are its name: "Chimney Rock", while the larger rock spire on the left is simply called the "Companion Rock".

Every 18.6 years the moon rises in between these two rock spires and seems to stands still before it changes its trajectory. This amazing lunar event is observable for only 3 consecutive days from this peculiar place in the mountains of Colorado.

Now, in the mountain top where this photo was taken there are Ancient Puebloan ruins from people believed to be decendants of the Chaco and Mesa Verde peoples and lived in the area about 1,000 years ago.

These were the same people formerly known as the "Anasazi" by archeologists. Since Anasazi is a Navajo word meaning "the enemies of our ancestors", the less offensive "Ancient Pueblo People" or "Ancestral Puebloans" is now preferred especially since various modern tribes claim ancestry to these people such as those from Taos, Acoma, Zuni, etc.

The site was of great spiritual significance to these tribes. Their ancestors built over 200 homes and ceremonial buildings high above the valley floor, probably to be near the sacred twin rock pinnacles. Of the hundreds of individual sites dotting the landscape, researchers have thus far found 91 structures that may have been permanent structures, plus 27 work camps near farming areas, adding up to more than 200 individual rooms.

Check out this wonderful slideshow of the lunar standstill on 12/26/04: http://www.chimneyrockco.org/standstill_slidesnew.htm

For more historival information:
http://www.pagosa.com/adventure/history/history_chimney.php

The official website: http://www.chimneyrockco.org

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Additional Photos by JC Ramos (jramos) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 47 W: 26 N: 141] (507)
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