The palmer divide near greenland, north of monument, co. -native american tribes once traversed the east-west anomaly of the rocky mountains known as the palmer divide as a passage between the high ranges and the great plains. lying between denver and colorado springs, and named for william jackson palmer, founder of colorado springs, the offshoot range divides the great platte and arkansas river systems. it extends from the front range of the rockies in central colorado eastward approximately 80 miles toward the town of limon.
archaeological records holds evidence of human occupation from about 13,000 years ago. ute people occupied the mountains of western douglas county by the sixteenth century, following the same seasonal migration routes as earlier indigenous groups. after tracking game into the high country during the summer and fall, utes moved to the base of the mountains and set up winter camps in the areas of present-day denver and castle rock. utes lived in temporary or mobile dwellings such as wickiups and tipis.
by the early nineteenth century, the cheyenne and arapaho had migrated to the douglas county area. these two groups moved southwest from the upper midwest, where they had historically lived in more sedentary farming communities. during their westward migration the cheyenne and arapaho adopted a nomadic way of life centered around the horse, which they used to follow the great buffalo herds across the plains. while both groups primarily lived on the plains, their pursuit of buffalo and other game often led them into the mountains, where they fought with the ute for access to hunting grounds. like the ute, the cheyenne and arapaho often wintered along water sources such as plum creek and the south platte, using trees and plants in the area for shelter and fuel.
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