2023 Road Trip: Day 5 – Skinwalker

Okay, so last night was actually pretty intense. I left Ouray, Colorado in the morning and made my way to Northern Utah. I set up camp as close as I could legally get on the edge of a little place known as Skinwalker Ranch. The owners of a neighboring ranch have turned part of their property into a very well-maintained campground that sits right on the edge of the famed mesa.

Skinwalker Ridge (Campground is in the upper left, Skinwalker Ranch Homestead 2 is at the upper right, in the trees)

I was greeted by Jodi and the goodest boy Marshall upon my arrival (I hope I’m getting those names right – I was a bit zoned out after the drive.) Jodi guided me to their cool campground on the edge of Skinwalker Ridge and let me pick out a campsite. I went with a spot that they call “The Hidey Hole”, which was a little campsite tucked in an area surrounded by a rock wall. I was camping in a tent, so I liked that the rock walls could potentially block out some wind, should some occur (oh yeah, it occurred all right.) She also had some cool reclining camp chairs that were available for rent, and each camper gets a tub of water for putting out the campfire, washing your hands, etc. Oh, and all of the firepits are smokeless!

They allow visitors to fly drones over their property, and this includes the mesa itself. We were not permitted to fly drones directly over Skinwalker Ranch, or any of the neighboring properties, understandably. I was thrilled that we were allowed to fly at all!

As soon as I set up camp, I got out the trusty ol’ drone and three fully charged batteries. I took a handful of photos of the mesa, and flew where I was allowed to and was able to see some areas that I know from the TV show, “The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.”

Looking towards Homestead 2

Sometimes I wonder if a lot of the events on the show are just hyped for entertainment purposes. Now that I’ve spent a night out there, I’m not so sure. The first thing I noticed was that all of my batteries drained much more quickly than usual. Then, when I went to charge them back up, one of them refused to charge at all. That has never happened before, so it’s interesting that it happened here. There is also absolutely no cell signal out here. Thankfully, past me was prepared and brought a satellite messenger to check in at home. My phone signal was actually pretty good as soon as I got away from the ranch, so it seems to be blocked around here for some reason.

As night started to fall, I had a campfire going, then kicked back in that comfy camp chair and just watched the sky. I wasn’t sure if I’d see anything weird, but it was such a calm, quiet night, that it felt good to just relax by the fire.

Suddenly, that calm quietness was gone in an instant.

The energy started to feel very intense, to the point where I almost felt like I was in a panic. Without any warning, the area was hit by what felt like hurricane-force winds. There were bright flashes in the sky, like lightning, but there was no thunder. It was like being stuck in the middle of a rainless, thunderless, severe storm. This went on for what felt like an eternity. I felt the need to turn around, and when I did, I saw this weird cloud.

Strange lines in the clouds

After a while, things seemed to be calming back down, and the storm was fading out. It appeared to be done, but then it kicked into high gear again. I noticed I could see the moon a little bit through the clouds, and also thought I saw a random light anomaly appear in the sky a couple of times. I snapped a few pictures in that general direction, and I actually managed to capture the anomaly.

Zoomed in. Not sure what that is.
Left the camera on Bulb Mode for a while

Finally, around midnight, things calmed down and stayed calm. There was still a bit of cloud cover, but the stars were starting to shine.

Star trails over the mesa

I watched the sky over the mesa some more. An eerie glow started to appear in that general direction. It might’ve just been a town in the distance, but it seemed to fade in and then fade out later on. It showed up clearly on the camera, though.

The glowing cloud behind the mesa seemed out of place. Maybe it’s nothing (the bright light at the top is Jupiter.)

After capturing the eerie glow, I suddenly felt exhausted and called it a night. I crawled into my tent and must’ve crashed out within minutes. I actually slept pretty well last night.

That pesky sunshine woke me up this morning. I got up and made some coffee, and before tearing down camp, I thought I’d take the drone on another flight. Oddly, as I was flying over the mesa, the drone’s proximity sensor was detecting an object close behind it. At first, I thought maybe there was a bird chasing it or something (they actually do that sometimes) but I couldn’t actually see anything anywhere near it. Something was close enough to put the alert in the red (it’s yellow when things are sort of close, and red when objects are dangerously close.) It didn’t stop alerting until I brought the drone back in.

I packed up my camping gear, then made my way to the nearest town to get some internet. I wasn’t sure where to go next, but I thought I’d figure that out over some lunch.

Maybe that TV show isn’t as dramatized as I thought.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *