First Snow Of November

November 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

November 17 during the night brought a quick moving cold front through the region.

In the morning, a trace of snow on the ground in Cortez, in the Montezuma Valley.

At Mesa Verde National Park about ten miles east of Cortez, the Law Enforcement Rangers were changing the entrance station sign to "Snow Tires Recommended". Indeed: the entire road surface was frozen. But it wasn't glare ice, it had texture and my tires had no problem. The park snow plow truck was already hitting the inbound lane, knowing that nothing much more would happen until the sun worked on it. Being a clear cold morning, the sun was soon doing just that.

Point Lookout after first snowfall of the season, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.2017_CO-6312-2Point Lookout after first snowfall of the season, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

Near the park entrance, Point Lookout was already glowing along its east flanks with the just risen sunlight.

Sunrise after the first snowfall of the season, upper Prater Canyon, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.2017_CO-6313-Pano-2Sunrise after the first snowfall of the season, upper Prater Canyon, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

About five miles inside the park, alongside the road at the head of Prater Canyon, a ridge to the south was lit up in gold and blue hues.

Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling site after first snowfall of the season, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.2017_CO-6323-2Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling site after the first snowfall of the season, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

Twenty miles into the park, at Headquarters and the Chapin Mesa Archaeological Museum, I took an early morning shot of Spruce Tree House cliff dwelling in deep shadow in its alcove below the rim. Spruce Tree House is the third largest cliff dwelling at Mesa Verde, as well as the best preserved.

Wild turkey along the road, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.2017_CO-6325-2Wild turkey along the road, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

In late afternoon, on the way back out of the south end of the park, some wild turkeys were hogging the road. The low sunlight in the roadside grasses made for a beautiful contrast.

Wild turkey along the road, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.2017_CO-6332-2Wild turkey along the road, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

Another of the turkeys along the road. In this image I avoided the urge to crop too much, preferring the added sunlight glow in the field behind.

Coyote in evening sunlight, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.2017_CO-6335Coyote in evening sunlight, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

Soon after passing the turkeys, I saw what might have been checking them out: a coyote. Although I only had time for a quick, unprepared shot that it rather blurry, I like it.

Sleeping Ute Mountain at dusk, from Montezuma Valley Overlook, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.2017_CO-6340Sleeping Ute Mountain at dusk, from Montezuma Valley Overlook, Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

Back at the north end of the park at dusk, I stopped at the Montezuma Valley Overlook for snow accented slopes of the North Rim of Mesa Verde, as well as the long hulking form of Sleeping Ute Mountain on the other side of the valley.

Photo location: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

© Copyright Stephen J. Krieg


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