Last week, as I cycled towards Denver from Mineral/Santa Fe (a 30 mile round trip) I saw with my own eyes the choke cherry trees (prunus virginiana) that grow along the banks of the rivers. It was a fruit the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes harvested each year to sustain them through the winter.
Following is a short excerpt from Hidden History of Denver.
For centuries, Native Americans had camped along Cherry Creek—given the name because of the small, choke cherry trees that grew along its banks. When the cherries were ripe, they were harvested, pounded and then dried in the sun to be used over the winter months.