Ghost towns, mountain passes, a wildfire, and a Corgi

Obviously, I have to lead with the picture of Pueblo the Corgi. I mean look at this little buddy!

Last weekend, right after the Fjallraven Classic USA, Keya and I met our friends, Veronica and Evan, near Jefferson. Then we headed up some mountain passes to find ghost towns! We started on Boreas Pass on Saturday and veered off onto some high clearance “roads” to find some old cabins and other buildings. On Sunday, we headed all the way up and across Mosquito Pass. Pretty stellar views (and wind from up there).


Here’s a video of Evan getting buffeted by the wind at the top of Mosquito Pass:

 
On the way back, we had to go around the Weston Pass fire. This thing:

Highlights: Colorado Springs, Buena Vista, UFO Watchtower

Colorado Springs


Keya, Zag, and I headed down to Colorado Springs to visit my sister, Kristen. She took us on a hike in the Red Rock Canyon Open space. It’s a beautiful meandering set of loops that can be extended if your group is up for it. It looks like the open space would be a pretty fun place for beginner mountain bikers or climbers as well.

After the hike, we saw some flyers in the dirt near the Jeep for a place called Pub Dog that supposedly lets dogs hang out “inside” while you eat. Of course we had to go there! That kind of thing is rare. I think they got around the city rules stating dogs can’t be inside restaurants. Basically, they have the “main” restaurant area with no dogs allowed and the “indoor patio” area technically outside of the main restaurant where dogs are allowed. Both are indoors with full AC. Outside, there was more patio seating and a dog play area. They also had pretty dang good food for dogs and people as well as good beer! A+

Buena Vista

IMG_9134
After the hikes, we headed south toward Ojo Caliente. We stopped for dinner at House Rock Kitchen on the way. I have no pictures of the burger or place, but I assure you the burgers were spot on.

The UFO Watchtower


We ran out of light so we made the call to stop at the UFO Watchtower and camp. If you missed my previous post on it, the UFO Watchtower is one of my favorite places in Colorado and also has a camping area. We were there with a few other believers, but unfortunately we arrived past their bedtime. After some brief stargazing we crashed.
We couldn’t see much from the tower in the morning due to the low hanging smoke from various nearby forest fires so we packed up and headed out. Ojo Caliente, here we come!

The UFO Watchtower and the Great Sand Dunes

Keya and I headed south to check out the Great Sand Dunes National Park a couple weeks ago. On the way, Keya asked if I had been to the “alien place” near the dunes. There is no better way to peak my interest than by mentioning aliens. While I was driving, she loaded up the website for the UFO Watchtower. It may be one my very favorite websites.

After one glance at the website, I was convinced. We had to go. Before going to the tower, we took a short detour to the town at the end of the road, Crestone. It’s an amazing little town with plenty of free-thinking folk. We had lunch at the brewery and, though eager to head out, stopped at the Free Box. The Free Box is a kind of free store. In it, everything is free. I dropped in a few books and an unused hat, but on the way out of it spotted a book on space tourism. Too perfect. Nabbed it and headed out to the watchtower!
When we got there, it was everything we could have hoped for. There were custom works of art all over the place designed to welcome travelers from any planet. We followed the signs on the way in to a deserted watchtower. There was no trouble parking at all.

We put our $4 into the box and headed up to the tower with our binoculars. Then, another vehicle pulled up and a couple got out to check out the watchtower. They seemed pretty knowledgable about aliens and vortexes. Not long after, a third truck rumbled on over from a nearby home and out of it walked one wonderful and quirky person, “That Crazy Lady Down the Road.” Judy is the one who built and operates the watchtower. She has some “out of this world” stories. She showed all of us around and introduced us to the two vortexes below the watchtower. According to her, many psychics (I think 20+ IIRC) confirmed not one, but two vortexes that intersect. These vortexes showed up not long after she built the watchtower probably because it was built as a welcome to all life forms. They connect to other universes. So cool. The vortexes are surrounded by tons of cool items left by people over the years. It has culminated in a pretty amazing work of art.


Keya and I couldn’t help but contribute. We both had perfect things.
I had been given a colorful wooden art puzzle by my aunt last year during my travels around the US. It accompanied me for thousands of miles across Canada and all the way down the west coast before returning to Colorado. Dozens of people messed with it as it was always front and center on my dashboard. I figured it probably has the best energy and history of all the stuff I had with me. It also fit right in. I de-cubed it and hung it next to one of the portals.

Keya had a wooden coin from her first Defcon (A defcoin?) that she had been carrying for some time. She found a figure reaching out for something in the garden and gave the figure the coin it had been reaching for all this time.

We then spent some time up on the watchtower checking out the dunes and seeing if we could spot a UFO or two. After a bit of that, we realized the weather was starting to turn. We needed to get to the dunes before things got too bad so we waved goodbye and headed to the Great Sand Dunes!

When we got there, it was already pretty windy. We geared up quickly, leashed Zag, and headed up the dunes. Unfortunately, the wind kept getting stronger. It got to the point where Zag was getting a bit anxious so we turned around. Zag and I ran down a few of them on the way back. Next time we are definitely heading to the top.

View this post on Instagram

Shifting sands

A post shared by Michael Arestad (@michaelarestad) on

Photos by Keya Lea Horiuchi and Michael Arestad