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Sewemup Mesa Canyon, Gateway CO

Boondocked below Sewemup Mesa, Gateway CO, April 28, 2011
Boondocked below Sewemup Mesa, Gateway CO, April 28, 2011

Point of Interest

From the roadside POI sign along Rt-141 10 miles south of Gateway CO:

Sewemup Mesa is one of the ecologically pristine areas in western Colorado, having been isolated from development by its almost impassible belt of encircling sandstone cliffs. A striking band of thousand-foot-high cliffs of Wingate Sandstone encircles more than 75% of Sewemup Mesa. Many huge ponderosa pines line the canyons of the mesa top and grow directly from sandstone terraces along the mesa's western cliffs. The cliffs provide nesting sites for the endangered peregrine falcon, as well as for the golden eagles. Bald eagles winter along the Dolores River at the area's edge. Mountain lions rule the mesa, and the lower slopes are important big-game winter range for deer and elk.

The legend of Sewemup Mesa began in the late 1800's as a real true cattle-rustling operation. A local rancher "rustler" would drive stolen cattle, from both Utah and Colorado up into the well concealed "pockets" of the mesa. There he would rope them, tie them down and with a sharp knife, cut out the piece of the hide containing the brand. He would then sew them back up with bailing [sic] wire and rawhide. After the wounds healed, the cows would be branded with the rustler's own brand. Then they would be put back on the range with the other cattle and no one was any wiser.

Sewemup Mesa Canyon is a limited, rough, but picturesque boondocking site along the BLM primitive road into the canyon below Sewemup Mesa, a half mile off CO Rt 141 about 10 miles south of Gateway CO.

Sewemup Mesa Canyon, Gateway CO

Nights I've camped here

It was the Crickets

Now then: it isn't so much that one way of dying beats another, though that certainly is the case, but rather that when you KNOW the jig could be up any second or any decade -- it's the awareness that's important -- that just might make a difference. I'm like everybody else, I have these moments and then forget, lapsing back into "immortality." But there was a thing that happened in my back yard maybe 18 months before we split from Maryland that hit me as hard as seeing their president drop dead on stage must have hit those graduating seniors.

It was the crickets. I'd gone outside one warm fall evening to shut the garage door and suddenly realized I couldn't hear the crickets! No wait, I could, but only if I turned my head a certain way. Oh God, oh no: I had almost no high-frequency hearing in my right ear, or was it my left? That doesn't matter. The point is, a part of me had shut down permanently. No, it hadn't happened suddenly, but I had finally noticed, and that was hard to take. I'd never again hear crickets like I once had. Never! I walked back to the house in tears. All right, I'm sensitive. But I understood at once what all this meant.