National Geographic : 1932 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE "SKY-FARMING" IN A TRIBUTARY CANYON OF THE SAN LUIS VALLEY In this single field, near Wolf Creek Pass, over 8,000 feet above sea level, are more than 50 acres of lettuce. In the high, cool regions succulent plants grow vigorously during the summer months, while the great heat and dryness at lower levels discourage growth. Colorado farmers can thus for a time have certain markets largely to themselves. I rolled along through a broad valley covered with almost unbroken orchards peach, apple, pear, and apricot-to Grand Junction, set down where the Gunnison River joins the Colorado. A few miles to the west lies a region of fantastically carved and eroded rock formations and deep can yons, into which scenic motor roads and horseback trails have been built. One of the most bizarre sections of this natural wonderland has been set aside by the Fed eral Government as the Colorado National Monument. AN UNCOMPLETED MOUNTAIN A few miles to the southeast a great ele vated region hangs over the valley, a block of "mountain stuff," it might be called, which has stubbornly resisted all Nature's efforts to wear it down into peaks and val leys. It is Grand Mesa, dubbed locally "the largest flat-topped mountain in the world." It is mountain high, assuredly, rising more than a mile above the valley. Its lofty flat top embraces 50 square miles of grassland and forest. More than a hundred lakes dot the top of the mesa and the slopes just below its rim. The United States Forest Service ad ministers this sky-high table-land and puts it to numerous uses, from grazing cattle and sheep to furnishing summer hotel sites and fishing facilities. Good motor roads make it possible to drive to the top with ease. Whirling along the close-packed gravel road, bound south, you pass alternately through dry, semidesert bench lands and irrigated fields and orchards. Up the Un compahgre River the road turns and is soon traversing a valley that in places widens to 20 miles. Fertile farms now cover this valley floor and even neighboring bench lands. Capt.