Sunday, November 23, 2014

View Seats and Vision Quests

Partway through a big loop hike of some peaks around the Long Trail in October 2011, I started looking for a lunch spot and saw light filtering through trees just below the ridge crest. Thinking that meant a clear view, I hopped over the edge, dropped down to a little bowl, and saw this stone chair. It was covered with debris, moss, and lichens- no one had been here for a long time. Sitting in the chair I enjoyed this view:
So obviously human made, I couldn't help but speculate. Was this another relic from Will Monroe's 1920's trail crew? This site is only about 4 miles from the more elaborate "love seat" artifact described in the 11/22 entry. Being less exposed, there has been more deposition of debris and growth around the area, but it's still an awesome little nook. I returned here several times before moving to the Rockies.
 Our dog Jetty shows the scale of the site while scoping out the vista.
 Close up of the View Seat.
I thought about these Northeastern artifacts on yesterday's snowshoe up to Waterdog Lakes, out here in southern Colorado where there are numerous nearby relics of much greater antiquity - not only centuries old, but in some cases millennia!                                                                                      
 This is the easternmost and least visited of the 4 Waterdog Lakes, with Banana Mtn. (12,339') behind. Banana is a spur of 12,856' Bald Mtn., where there are remnants of a Paleo Indian game drive system in use from 3,000 B.C. to about 1800 A.D. - plenty more on that later. These lakes would have made convenient campsites, with abundant water, for ancient people working the elk runs up on the ridge. Ridgelines in the area are festooned with archaeology, from signal fire structures to summit vision quest locations. The view seats back in Vermont perhaps also represent a sort of vision quest purpose...

I was pretty surprised to find a snowshoe track almost all the way to the East Lake, usually no one comes the 1/2 mile over from the Middle Lake where the trail ends. When the phantom hikers had veered uphill and around to the far shore I cut straight to the near side, and contemplated in solitude how best to "Top Banana" from here sometime.

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