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Burning Mountain

Burning Mountain (7,267 feet or 2,215m.) is on the north bank of the Colorado River, seen here on the left with both Interstate 70 and the Denver & Rio Grande RR paralleling the river, in Garfield County. This view to the west was taken from the western (and highest peak) of Mount Medaris (6,075 feet or 1,852m.) a low ridge which overlooks the town of New Castle (out of the frame to the lower left). Battlement Mesa is also visible at the left but on the south bank of the Colorado with early snow on the mountains further west just visible between the mesa and the southern (left) shoulder of Burning Mountain in this view. To the right of the mountain is Castle Valley with Elk Creek at the base of the mountain and then curving in an "S" bend, marked by the leafless grey trees, across the valley floor (If you enlarge the frame the creek itself is visible at the lower curve of the "S".). Notice also the diagonal upthrust from left to right of the rock formations of the mountain which is characteristic of the overthrust which formed the Rocky Mountains.

The mountain was formerly known as Wards Peak after the first white family to settle in what is now New Castle at the confluence of Elk Creek and the Colorado River at the foot of the mountain in 1883. The name change came in the aftermath of a fire in 1899 in the Consolidated Mine in the mountain. Even though the mine was sealed, the fire continues to burn underground to this day. In the winter its presence becomes apparent as the heat from the fire melts the snow in places on the flanks of the mountain. View is a little north of west.

Many thanks to Igor Nayda for his research which led me to more information about all things New Castle on the Town Hall web site which features a video on the Mystery of Burning Mountain.

(Submitted to the November, 2012 Panoramio contest in the category Scenery.)

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  • Uploaded on November 30, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by mg1744