Sky, Snow and Stone- Caribou Ghost Town, CO
















If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably a least a little familiar with my love for ghost towns and places where time’s been less than kind. From my explorations here in Texas around some Sherman Factories to my great overabundance of places I found to explore in Death Valley NP, like the ghost town of Rhyolite and the Skidoo Stamp Mill,i’m always up for exploring anywhere with even a little bit of grime settled in the stone. And like i’ve told the boyfriend- it’s not a roadtrip unless there’s a ghost town somewhere on the itinerary.

To be perfectly honest though, we weren’t expecting to find any ghost towns on this last trip to Colorado, not because there aren’t any (there are SO many) but because they’re all mainly situated up in the mountains and are inaccessible during the winter season. The only reason we decided to try and make out way to this one was because we happened to be in the area. After leaving Rocky Mountain NP we didn’t really have set plans for what to do next and since we were just a short-ish drive from Nederland we decided why not, lets go for it.

The road to go up to the remains of Caribou is situated just before the main center of Nederland (which btw, is a super cool little town that I would recommend visiting just for itself if you’ve the spare time, it reminded me of the area around Salvation Mountain something fierce) and while it was somewhat muddy and a bit winding, the pay off at the end was well worth it. There’s not much left of the former silver mining town, but then again, I never go expecting much. Whats mainly there, the draw if you will, is two large stone buildings, which I know, doesn’t sound like it would be worth a trip… but for someone like me, it was fantastic.

The weather was cold but crisp and if anything the snow surrounding the buildings (and nestled inside them) made the whole scene even more picturesque, which was a small departure from the usual vibe I get when I visit these kinds of places (that vibe being of mild depression or creepiness….which is to be expected). That feeling of history however, that was still very much there.

– a good post to check out if your interested in reading up on the town more or if you happen to be in the area and just maybe would like to stop on by : UncoveredColorado, Caribou

~m

The Voices In the Hills- Skidoo Ghost Town, Death Valley National Park, California

Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP
Skidoo Stamp Mill, Death Valley NP

Have you ever seen the movie, the Hills Have Eyes?

Even if you haven’t, i’m sure you’ve heard of it….or you at least have an idea of what i’m getting at.

It would be pretty fair to say this was the part of the park that we spent the most time at, though Rhyolite would probably be a close second (though technically not actually within the boundaries of the park…but more on that later). I definetly enjoyed my time here- it was worth the bumpy and at times slightly perilous drive to get out there and the complete solitude was just perfection, but….

So. I have a pretty active imagination- some might say over active- and while at first the complete solitude in this area was amazing, after the first hour it went from amazing to somewhat more, how shall we say, eerie? Its the remneants of a ghost town complete with the decaying structure of an abandoned stamp mill, so of course we expected a certain amount of eerie solitude. But the whole time we were there in that part of the park, about 2 almost 3 hours, we didn’t see one single person (or animal) around. Not even birds in the sky. And after we’d gotten out fill of exploring the stamp mill, we headed back to the towns original location and thats when we started noticing the doors.

The town of Skidoo was a gold mining town- hence the stamp mill- which results in oddities like doors carved into hills. Some are high up and far away from the road, just dark blots on the landscape of rolling hills but others…. well, others seem to appear out of almost nowhere, you just look out your car window and happen to spot a door ajar, tucked in the mouth of a hill just by the side of the road. And your mind can’t help but wonder if anything lives beyond those doors, down in the darkness deep in those hills.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t make the journey out to Skidoo, I had a blast exploring out there and honestly just reveling in the uniqueness of the experience but yeah, just be aware it’s not really an adventure you’d want to do by yourself for a multitude of reasons (one of them being no cell service unless you get up high on the hills).

Explore responsibly, don’t leave any trace of yourself behind and maybe don’t go peeking behind half opened doors that lead into abandoned mine shafts,
~m

P.S if you’d like to read more on the Skidoo’s town history, this is a really informative site.

A Tiny Roadtrip Through Missouri

The hallway of our home away from home.

Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, Missouri

I have never felt more aware of my own non-whiteness than while I was here. Beautiful place though.

Canyon Cafe, Missouri

An elderly fellow sat by us as we ate lunch here and we shared a laugh at the stubbornness of our chip bags. I bit through mine and he used a knife from his belt. Good times.

Cosmic Caverns sign, Missouri

Caverns abound here in Missouri.

Strawberry Fields Video, Missouri

Three hours outside of any major city.

Overlooking the green from our Best Western room

Watched the storm settled over the land and the earthen smell of the air never smelled so good.

Roadtrips.
Gods, Roadtrips.
Is there anything I love more?

It’s a strange desire I have, to be out on the open road. Because that’s what it really is, the desire to be out there, driving driving driving. It’s never about the destination, though the thrill of going somewhere new just makes it all the better. After seeing some of the sights in Eureka Springs, we headed out away from Arkansas north towards the hilly roads of Missouri, because if I ever get a chance to mark off a state in my Visted! list, you bet i’m gonna take it.

So, I’m from Texas.
Well, strike that, i’m originally from California.
….Actually, if you really want to talk honest, my bones were born in NYC.
But! Texas is where I live now, and where I’ve called home for a good number of years now and when I tell you that i’ve seen some pretty deep-south kinda things, I hope the understanding is that I know at least a little of what i’m talking about. I’ve traveled through Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana (even marked off South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama though I wouldn’t ever say I really explored those as much as the others) . And so, I had ideas of what to expect, given it’s neighbors.

Some of those expectations bore fruit (like how many people I saw with Confederate Flag bumper stickers on their pick-up trucks) while others wilted on the stem (the weather here was more fearsome and less predictable than expected).

While not as green or beautiful as the Smokey Mountains region of Tennessee, or even as interesting as the maze that is Hot Springs, Arkansas, that South-East part of Missouri I got the chance to experience was it’s own kind of unique. And while I probably wouldn’t go back for seconds, the hours I spent on the roads there won’t be ones i’ll soon forget.

~m

God Still Stalks Us- Futuro House, TX-276

 TX-276, Futuro House Futuro House, North Texas You Could Stay All Day, Futuro House The Fields near Futuro House Lights and Wood Beams, Futuro House in Texas God Still Stalks Us, Futuro House Futuro House interior The Colors Here, Futuro House Graffiti in Futuro House Futuro House, Outside Royse City with Brian

Usually, when I go a-wandering down these Texas highways, I don’t have a real destination in mind. I’ll pull up a google map search of all the areas here in Northern Texas and go with a gut feeling as to what direction i’ll head in. I challenge myself ,where ever I end up in, to find the beauty. Whether that means admiring the rust and trash debris scattered in the remains of an overlooked places like Canon and Tioga, wandering the back alleys and marveling at quirky lushness like in Caddo Mills or just basking in the colors of the sky and old cars like in Pilot Point and Sherman, I try and never fail to find the wonder out there.

This time was slightly different, because I knew what I wanted to encounter out on TX-276, just past Rowlett and headed towards Royce City.

I was looking for the Futuro House, and out there on that one lane highway, with fields and old houses taking up space with the endless sky, I found it. Deserted and filled to bursting with color and light, it welcomed me inside it’s belly and I marveled at the spill of life inside.

God walks on these Texas highways, in more ways than one, and he resides deeply in that run down little makeshift house. I’m not religious, in any way that counts, but you don’t have to be to get the feeling of his influence in the minds of those who colored up the inside panels of this place with graffiti. Sure,there’s curse words and mentions of sex all over, but religion resides there too, with bible verse numbers scrawled next to more mentions of the word “soul” than I’ve ever seen in one single place before.

With the golden fields lighting up in the sun outside the glassless windows and cars speeding on by to more important places, I sat there in the middle of that space and basked in that almost intoxicating scent gently breezing in, of gasoline and dry Texas air, and thought about all the people who’d ever done the same before me and who would come after I was long gone.

a cont. in Part 2 (Details) coming soon

~m

 

Chairs In The Alley and a Sky So Blue – Tioga, Texas

Benches in Tioga Don't Go Wanderin' Alleys and Colors Just another Brick In the Wall Look Inside, Tioga cracks in the Brick skyline here, East Texas Tioga City Park Tioga City Park, Tioga Texas Jail house, Tioga Tioga City Jail Tioga City Fire Department, Tioga

Little town, little town. 

It took over an hour and 1/2 to get here, and once we were within it’s limits, we still had to double back because we missed the very missable right turn onto Main St., going 80 miles and hour and the highway seemed to stretch onto forever and all of a sudden, TURN RIGHT.

There was a local cop who drove past our parked car 2 times while I was messing with the settings, and then drove down the opposite street when finally got out to explore. I could feel his eyes from a distance, but it didn’t feel so much as a distrust of outsiders as just a general sense of diligent watchfulness. Protection runs deep here, and I can’t really blame them. Crumbling brick and brilliant colors mix so lovingly, and my feet crunched on healthy green grass and forgotten trash in equal measure.

It was hot and quiet , the sun scorching the empty sidewalks, with faint notes of country music floating on down from the only business open, the bar down the street. If you asked me though, I would say this place is going to last till the end of days, easily.

~m