About this time every year it seems, fables are heard of heart crossed lovers riding off together into eternity, blinded by passion and driven by their forbidden love, they would rather parrish together than live apart. Very romantic indeed. If they were true…
This is the ‘true story’ of Battle Mountain and Lover’s Leap as told to the early residence of Red Cliff Colorado by remaining Ute.
A band of Arapaho made their way up the Arkansas River and over Tennessee Pass to hunt in Ute territory. They were discovered by Ute scouts at Two Elk Creek just a few miles below what is now Red Cliff. A violent battle erupted, one so fierce with warrior fighting warrior, through day and night, that the bloody conflict lasted for over a week, thus garnering the name Battle Mountain.
The Ute were able to push back the Arapaho but during the melee at the Ute camp, a young Arapaho warrior spotted a beautiful Ute maiden who immediately captured his heart. He had found his new bride. The young warrior swooped her up and began racing away on his valiant pony. A band of Ute in hot pursuit.
The chase was on, rushing along the side walls of Battle Mountain, the warrior pressed on. The terrain is treacherous and the double load weighed them down so the Ute men were able to separate the two from the fleeing band of Arapaho. They pressed after him, forcing him toward the river. The young warrior was driven out onto the promontory of Lover’s Leap where he realized all was lost.
They were surrounded. With true native stoicism the young warrior rode off the cliff meeting death on the sharp rocks below.
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief … and unspeakable love.”
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