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Colorado's southeastern quadrant owes its life to the Arkansas River, which forges one of the world's most spectacular canyons -- the deep, narrow Royal Gorge. On the river's trek through Pueblo, it not only supplies water for a major steel industry, but also provides a delightful riverfront park, walkway, and shopping area with a reason for being. From Pueblo, the river rolls across the Great Plains, providing life-giving water to an arid but soil-rich region that produces a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Bent's Old Fort, a national historic site that has re-created one of the West's most important frontier trading posts, also rests beside the river, east of the community of La Junta. South of Pueblo, the town of Trinidad is the center of a century-old coal-mining district, boasting a number of handsome old Victorian-style buildings.