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Photographer's Note

The Ute Mountain Tribal Park, next to Mesa Verde National Park and containing similar ruins, is owned by the Southern Ute tribe, which controls access to the ruins through full and half-day tours. You can only visit these ruins if accompanied by a tribal guide, and all fees go to the benefit of the tribe.

These ruins are just as interesting as Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon to the south, but harder to get to and less known, plus the tribe limits the number of people who go at any one time, so a visit here is more rewarding. We also attended a tribal festival, but no photography is permitted there.

This particular ruin, "Eagle's Nest", can be seen on the half-day tour. After I took this picture, we walked out to the ruin itself - and the path is as treacherous as it looks here.

The ruins are around 1000 years old, almost certainly built by the same people who built Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon - the "Ancient Pueblo" people, nowadays often called "Anasazi", even though that is a Navajo word meaning "Ancient Enemies." Long thought to be extinct, the Anasazi are now known to be the ancestors of the modern Hopi and Zuni tribes; I could not find out whether the Ute are also related to them.

Update: I've learned that there is no known connection between the Ute and the Anasazi. And as Blueraven points out, it's likely they arrived around the same time as the Navajo.

Technical: Some Shadow/Highlight adjustment.

Buin, thor68, BlueRaven has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Daniel Kohanski (Wandering_Dan) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 930 W: 150 N: 1023] (3449)
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