Hiking Chimney Rock

Today was a nice day, mainly because it made me think about so many places I’ve been. Small moments that brought back some memory. I think this was mainly because all I ever seem to go to are ancient ruins and sites that are usually perched somewhere on a distant mountainside. I thought about Macchu Picchu today, Mystras, a small town in Greece, and Delphi. All of these places are remote, and resemble a mountain landscape that looks like this:

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And like this:

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Both of these pictures are near the Chimney Rock National Monument outside of Pagosa Springs. The actual Monument is between Pagosa Springs and Durango, and you hike up to it along a ridge, where you get closer and closer to two giant rocks that dominate the landscape.

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I loved this because it made me realize that human beings have pretty much always been attracted to unusual features in the landscape, and living on remote mountain tops. I’ve seen this all over the world. Along the way you also see the actual ruins, which get more impressive the higher you climb.

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Until you finally reach the top, right next to the rocks, where you have the great pueblo.

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What I found most interesting about this, besides the similarities between this place and others that I’ve been to, is how these people lived underground, in their pit houses and kivas. I like this because it seems to suggest that they found comfort in an underground setting – which usually is the opposite. The underground is a terrifying place for most cultures, since it’s full of irrational and uncontrollable things. But, here, I feel like this is the opposite. The upper world, the normal world, is the terrifying place. It’s like they tried to get back deeper into the earth, rather than rising above it. Which seems to make sense, since that’s where we all came from in the first place.

After seeing Chimney Rock for most of the day I spent some time in Durango, where I hung out at the Strater Hotel, and walked around town.

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