2024 Road Trip: Part 1 – Return to Skinwalker Ridge

I’m back on the road again! I’m currently on my most ambitious solo road trip yet, and wandering much farther than I have before.

My last visit to the UFO Valley Campground in Utah had me very curious, and I wanted to see if I could witness any unusual activity again. There’s definitely something weird going on in that area, and I feel the need to study it more. The campground was along the way in the direction I was heading anyway, so I booked another stay.

I left Lawrence, Kansas on Sunday morning and set my GPS towards the campground. It’s a long way from home, though, so I didn’t do the whole drive in one day. I ended up getting a room in Georgetown, Colorado at the Georgetown Mountain Inn the first night. The campground is roughly 5 hours from this town, and check-in isn’t until 3:00 PM, so Georgetown seemed like a good place to crash for the night, and even sleep in a little.

I was starving, and conveniently, there was a nice-sounding restaurant right next to the hotel parking lot. Despite the internet saying it was open, it was, in fact, closed. I improvised and grabbed some pizza at Cabin Creek Brewing. I don’t know what it is about brewery food, but it always hits the spot.

As planned, I slept in a bit and then made my way to the campground. On arrival, I was greeted by who I assume must be the owner’s daughter. She went over the rules, and I was sad to find out that drones were no longer allowed to be flown in the area. I had such weird activity involving my drone the last time, so I was really hoping I could reproduce it again. Apparently, some creep with a drone was spying on the neighbors, so they decided to ban drones all together. Leave it to creepy dipshits to ruin it for everyone, I guess.

I set up camp right next to the fence that separates the campground from the infamous Skinwalker Mesa. It was hot and sunny out, but luckily my tent has a neat little “porch” that provided some shade. I warmed up some dinner (a can of Chef Boyardee raviolis, because I’m classy AF) and kicked back in a reclining camp chair until nightfall.

My campsite with a great view of the mesa

Nightfall came, and after all of the activity from my previous stay, I was hoping for a repeat. I poured myself some delicious boxed wine into a plastic camping cup, sat back and watched the night sky, and then really didn’t see much of anything this time. It was a very calm, quiet night. Weirdly calm. Pretty much the most calm night that ever calmed. The only possibly weird thing I saw was something with a faint glow that flew slowly in front of the mesa. I have no idea what it was. Could’ve been anything, I guess. Of course, I didn’t get it on camera. Go figure.

It was a nice night, though, and the sky was clear. It made for a good opportunity to take some night photos.

The Milky Way over Skinwalker Mesa

At one point in the night, I decided to leave my camera shutter open for a full hour to see if anything happened to fly by and leave any interesting streaks in the photo. I also wanted to see if there was any kind of unusual distortion in the star trails that I’d inevitably capture. I have a theory that whatever’s going on in this area can distort light passing through, and it would surely show up in the star trails if that were the case. I also theorize that the activity comes in waves, so this is one of those experiments that’s probably going to require several sessions. As quiet as this night was, I didn’t expect to see any distortion this time, and it looks like I was right. There is, however, an odd streak of light in the middle of this photo that isn’t a star trail, and isn’t a plane. It could be a satellite, but it makes a sudden turn at one point (maybe satellites do that, but I’m not totally sure.) Can you spot it?

A 1-hour exposure of Skinwalker Mesa

Despite the quiet night, I’m still curious about this area. I’m pretty skeptical about stuff like this, but there’s something odd about this particular area, so I intend to return again.

For now, my journey continues Northwest.


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