Raging River, Calamity Mud and Alien Monoliths

Yesterday we set out to explore some dangerous old uranium mines but once again our devious plans were foiled by mud. The rain we so desperately need in Western CO, (which consequently ideas turned the Dolores River into a raging psycho hose beast) left a large section of the forest road to Calamity Mine in a muddy, sticky, you-will-be-camping-here-for-a-week state.

We were glad we turned around when we did, because what we found was so much better than a damp, urine-fragranced mine with a side effect of infertility. Here’s what we did:

First we drove through Unaweep Canyon to Gateway, which we’ve done on numerous occasions (here is one). This time, however, we turned left off 141 about 3 miles before the resort on forest road 6 3/10 Road (which later becomes FR 405). This is the point where we teleported to Hawaii. I have been in this area hundreds of times and never seen it from this view point or with this much greenery. Once you get 4 o 5 miles up the switchbacks, the view is unbelievable. The palisade itself is quite impressive, but seeing all the towers behind it that you can’t see from the road is a treat.

At the forest boundary, we tried road 403E but it got scary muddy fast, so we ditched the truck and hiked. What a phenomenal view of the La sSals, and look! Lone Cone! We did a couple of miles here before Meinhart heard thunder and turned into Wiley Coyote. As usual we made it back to the truck in record time.

On the way back down 6 3/10 Road, things got weird. I noticed something that I SWEAR was not there on the way up. Look at this. Radio tower, right? Wrong, look closer. That is either a hoo doo that no one has ever seen or that is an alien monolith watchtower.

Now, before this trip I scoured google earth to find photos from other people so I knew where the popular spots were (so I can avoid them, haha) and I never saw a photo of this massive, weird, pokey, out of nowhere hoo doo.

If anyone knows what this is, please comment below to keep me from heading for the hills to wait out the invasion. (Side note: this might have something to do with fact that I am deep into season 4 of Falling Skies, and about 7 chapters in to “The Breakers” books. Might have something to do with it.)

After I got over the shock of this weird monolith, (just kidding, I am still not over the shock) we decided to check out road 4 1/10 which we weren’t sure we’d ever explored. Right at the resort, turn right on 4 1/10. This is the part where the Dolores (who a friend of mine once referred to as some old timey prostitute) gets super cray.

I have never seen her so full of rage. If you are used to this sleepy river, you know that she is a small strip of green in an otherwise dry and quiet desert. Today she was a chocolate brown frothing monster, spewing tree trunks and branches over her tumbling rapids. There would be no gold panning that day. No doggy swimming either.

What a beautiful valley though. Just look.

On the way home I tried to spot the monolith but couldn’t see it down in the valley on 141 (or was IT GONE?!) Then I ate some cherries and set up to type on my foldable bluetooth keyboard. I love my ghetto blogging tool. It’s great for camping and backpacking. You can buy the keyboard here.

Charity Meinhart

Author Charity Meinhart

Charity Meinhart is a graphic designer, videographer, and photographer born and raised on the Western Slope of Colorado. She specializes in graphics of all kinds—from presentations to advertisements to infographs—as well as short films, documentaries, and all types of professional photography. When she's not creating behind a large screen, she is either cooking something weird or exploring remote parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming on with her husband Brian and furry children Ender and Kaiser.

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