What do you do when you are staying at a remote resort in the desert where the closest populated town is an hour’s drive away?
If you are at the Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado, your only problem is going to be how to decide amongst all of the choices available to you. This may be a remote area but Gateway Canyons’ philosophy seems to be “more room for us to play!”
One of the first things I did after I got settled into my room was to head over to the resort’s Adventure Center. The Adventure Center is the hub of all the fun activities offered at the property ~ hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, shooting, off-road touring, wine country tours and so much more.
I immediately picked up a complimentary bicycle to cruise around the property and secondly, I confirmed my UTV (Utility Terrain Vehicle) tour for the following day…hey, with so much to do, I didn’t want to waste any time.
I was up bright and early the next morning and anxious to get the day going. I had a private UTV tour scheduled with Nick, one of the resort’s very knowledgable, adventurous and friendly staff…and then, there she was…my shiny red UTV sitting there waiting for me.
Let me preface the forthcoming statement by saying, I’m very much a girly-girl so in seeing the UTV my first thought was “this is probably going to be a very bumpy and uncomfortable ride but I’m going to be a good sport and roll with it.”
I could not have been more wrong. It’s amazing what a smooth ride (in relative terms of course) this little go-cart style vehicle offers…and believe me when I say, Nick did not spare me his adventurous side when he got behind the wheel to maneuver us around some very bumpy terrain.
From the moment we left the property driveway and started heading up the John Brown canyon road, I was in awe of what I was seeing. I was immediately immersed in the middle of the beautiful red rock canyons that surround the resort. (click on pictures to enlarge image)
Who needs to go to the national parks when you have scenery like this in your backyard.
This particular route took us up to the top of the highest point of the mesa with a stunning view of the landscape. Unfortunately, these pictures don’t begin to do the view justice.
Does anyone remember the TV segment Steve Hartman used to do on one of the major networks called “Everybody has a story”? That show used to fascinate me because Steve would throw a dart over his shoulder at a map of the U.S. and wherever it landed (usually some random small town no one had ever heard of) he would pack up and head out there and choose someone from that town to interview, and without a doubt he would uncover the most amazing stories.
Sorry, I digress, but my point is that before I arrived at Gateway, Colorado ~ a town I had never heard of ~ I truly thought that aside from this luxury resort that had popped up in the last several years, there really wasn’t any significance to this area…but I should have known, every location also has a story.
In point of fact, as we continued on with the tour, we came upon a large tower and some very rusty equipment. Nick proceeds to explain that this is equipment left over from the uranium mining that used to be (and still is) done in this area. It turns out that in the early 20th Century, Gateway was one of the areas most productive of uranium in the United States. It was interesting to see these remaining remnants as evidence of a productive existence from an earlier time. Hearing historical facts certainly gives a richness and a new appreciation for where you are.
So when I was told that there was another route that went by some outlaw cabins, I was immediately sold on another UTV tour for the next day!
Once again, an early morning rise to hop into ~ my now new favorite toy ~ my shiny, red UTV and on our way we were, on a completely new route passing by the Colorado River on our way to the outlaw cabins.
Apparently the story goes, that the Outlaw Cabins are from 1903, located in what is known as the Outlaw District of Utah, just west of Gateway. This particular area was a great place for outlaws to hide as the entire area was sealed off from Utah authorities by cliffs and jurisdiction restrictions with only one way in which was from the 4A (John Brown) road in Gateway, Colorado. It is said that some fairly notorious outlaws found shelter here and that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid may even have come through this area – how cool is that?
Step inside the cabin, and it’s incredible to see that there is still some old newspaper on the inside walls that was used as insulation. It’s really sad to think that due to weather and wear and tear, these cabins will eventually not be around any longer.
I don’t know about you, but I’d say these were some pretty smart outlaws who managed to elude the law and live the rest of their days in this beautiful setting.
As we headed back from our excursion, I couldn’t help but to get lost in thought of what it must have been like living in this paradise setting and yet, always looking over your shoulder for someone coming after you. A paradoxical existence for sure. I certainly took it upon myself to soak in the beauty of the area and again, experience a new appreciation for the history of this land.
…and within no time, we were back to reality!
In summary, not only did I learn that this girly-girl has a passion for UTV off-roading, but I was also reminded that everybody and everyplace has a story ~ so be curious, ask questions, and listen ~ you will be the richer for it.