August 12, 2010 came alive as the sun climbed slowly over the horizon, while a few clouds diffused the sun rays into variations of golden oranges, rusty yellows and shadowed grays.
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Time seemed to stand quite still as I contemplated the slow creep of the colors above the horizon.
The view atop Red Shin Standing Ground at John Martin Reservoir State Park was particularly stunning this SE Colorado morning.
Some rays crept between the pile of rocks beneath me, others stretching across the low, ground features around the park area.
Morning sounds including laughter and conversation emanated from the campground nearby, to the southeast.
This rock feature is connected with an interesting Native American story.
It seems a young Indian named Red Shin decided he wanted the hand of a certain lovely maiden; unfortunately, he was not the only interested party, and a difference of opinion broke out among many warriors.
As the story goes, Red Shin took his stand against these interlopers of similar intent, behind this large rock feature on a small hill northwest of the now existing Lake Hasty Campground.
According to the legend, following a long and furious standoff, Red Shin emerged the strongest warrior and walked off into the sunset, hand in hand with the aforementioned maiden.
Those many years ago, Red Shin did not have this stunning view of John Martin Dam, though the then-existing grove of tall, old cottonwoods standing along the Arkansas (behind which most likely stood many furious warriors), probably gave him plenty of awe and respect for Nature and her outstanding beauty.
As he pondered his fate, he probably enjoyed the soothing sounds of the moving river water as it fell over rocks and falls on its flow to Kansas. Nature is vividly and pervasively visible from this high view.
No doubt he pondered the bobcats that used dens in the rocks to the west of his position. I'm sure he pondered a lot of this during those hours - including his possible demise!
In the end, his perseverance, strength and prowess gave him the win he so valiantly pursued - and gained.
This summer, 2010, the park installed a small parking lot and a pictured sign explaining this interesting legend of Red Shin. When you venture to John Martin Reservoir State Park, be sure to stop by and take in the interesting rock outcropping Red Shin used for his legendary battle of Love.
Whether you enjoy this visit during the early sunrise or late sunset, Red Shin Standing Ground will await your camera and your admiration, in its position that will most likely forever stand guard over the northeast side of the east face of John Martin Dam...at John Martin Reservoir State Park...on the high plains of southeast Colorado.
All photos are taken by, and are property of Danielle Simone.