Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mt. Shavano and the Legend of the Angel

From the back deck of Colorado Crossroads Bed and Breakfast, one sees several of the 14ers - mountains that are over 14,000' above sea level.

The closest of these is Mt. Shavano.

The erosion gullies in the flanks of 14,225' Mt. Shavano hold snow which forms the head, body and arms of its famous "Angel." The mountain was named for a chief of the Tabegauche band of Ute Indians. This time of year, only parts of the angel have not melted away. This year we can still see her body, one arm, and part of a leg. As Aunt Anna says, “She looks like a mermaid now.” In some years she has totally melted by the beginning of July and in other years, like this one, she stays until late in the summer although this is a rare event.

In the picture above, which was taken July 8, 2008, you can see the 'mermaid' shape that remains this year.

The picture above was stolen off of the Internet so that you can see the entire Angel.

And now for the Legend of the Angel....

Mischievous pranks caused the God Jupiter to turn a fractious young Indian goddess into an angel of ice, "Until some mishap or tragedy of other people moves you to tears."
She was stranded on Mount Shavano where she lived for an eternity. From her position above the valley, she watched the Indians and the buffalo leave and the white man arrive. The angel was content and Jupiter was pleased she no longer bothered him.
In time, drought shriveled crops and dried the Arkansas River. The Angel watched as peopled faded and died under the scorching sun - she wanted to help but couldn't figure a way. In frustration, she began to weep. As tears melted her massive ice limbs, she knew Jupiter's spell was broken. Now, she cried from joy.
Her tears rejuvenated the valley and "her" people. You can see The Angel of Shavano every spring before she again weeps, releasing her life-giving water so people of the valley can prosper.

A couple of evenings ago when I looked out, it appeared as though Mt. Shavano was on fire.

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