|Tower ruin, Cave Towers.|
Besides, it's about the journey, right? Exploring a new area is a great journey. As long as it's on public land.
The evening was mostly overcast. For many visitors from far away, especially international visitors, they would not have liked such conditions. They have this image (rightly so) of southern Utah as this high desert red rock canyon country with perpetually clear blue skies. They want them in their pictures. But somehow they think we never get clouds or rain. Imagine that.
I, on the other hand, adapt to the conditions. It was overcast, so what? That makes for lower contrast, softer light than normal. It can bring out details that would otherwise be overwhelmed.
The drive in from Highway 95 passes through a gate. A public gate, no "No Trespassing" sign. Merely open the gate and close it behind you. The road then quickly turns rocky rough, over and down some slickrock sandstone bedrock. It's just fine for an AWD vehicle, let alone a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle. Sedans and vans can just pull over and walk the rest of the way, it's not far.
And not far down you come to it. A tower ruin. Another pile of rubble almost beside it that could have been another tower, or maybe a different structure. Looking across the head of the draw I see another tower.
|Tower ruin, Cave Towers.|
There is another tower ruin not far west of here that you can park in a paved lot and take an easy stroll to (not the one pictured). The interpretive signs there suggest that tower and these towers were line of sight in their locations. Thus signal fires could be seen between them, to assure all was well (no fire) or emergency. Signaling at the speed of light.
Since the ancient ones had no written communication, we can only surmise. It's a detective story, sifting through clues left behind. In this case, they left this area about 800 years ago, so it's a really cold trail.
I poke around some more. I am impressed by how deep the canyon is immediately below. The landscape had changed from flat mesa top to...abyss...just like that.
On the next ledge below I could see some cliff dwelling ruins. So that's where they lived. Or lived at times, and stored their precious grown grains (corn and beans).
|Cave Canyon panorama|
This was obviously a special place. A prime location: water flowing down the little wash, over the ledge, to more places for collection down below.
Were the towers built to say: we own this place? Or we live here, don't come here unless you walk in peace? Or were they like round vertical church towers, a symbol of worship, of thanks for the life giving surroundings?
Such questions occurred to me as I wandered, photographed, and then headed back to my truck before dark.
|Cave Tower ruin, evening panorama.|
Photo location: Cedar Mesa, San Juan County, Utah.
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Copyright © 2015 Stephen J. Krieg