Driving in the Colorado High County can be scary. Drivers must pay close attention to hairpin turns, steep dropoffs, and are constantly being reminded of falling rocks. It can be a daunting task for anyone who is not acclimated to the terrain and speed of which these obstacles come at you.
Before we proceed with our story, we want to state that we don’t condone any of the driving habits that are about to be told. Much of which is contained in the story is purely a part of our imagination, but it scared the hell out of this author and made for one scary ride. Alot of the terror can be resolved by planning ahead and being equipped with the tools necessary to drive in night conditions.
A Normal Morning
It was a normal Saturday morning and I was heading out of town to Gunnison, CO for a little bit of business, but mainly for pleasure. I packed up all that I needed for my trip – water, sunflower seeds, a kick-ass playlist, and my fishing pole (I pack lightly).
My morning and afternoon in Gunnison went great. I was able to go on a scenic adventure, drive the country-side, and capture some amazing photos. However, there was still one thing I didn’t do, to stop at a fishing hole and try my shot at snagging a monster. As I was driving down Highway 24, I spotted a small pond that thought might be good, turns out it was. Now I’m not about to tell you my secret spot, but when the fish are biting, you don’t want to leave.
The sun was falling fast and soon it was dusk. I still had another 2 hours of driving ahead of me. I packed up my belongings and hit the road.
Things Get Weird
I throw my fishing gear in the back of my car and fire up the engine. Upon looking at a reflection from the car ahead of me, it came to my attention that one of my headlights was burnt out. I figured my vision was good enough to make it home safe and I could repair the headlight the following morning. No big deal!
I wanted to check in with my wife and let her know I would be coming home a little later than planned and that I was about 2 hours out. I went to dial her number and just my luck, there was no service. She knew what my plans were and where I was heading. Again, no big deal!
At this time the sun had gone down and it was dark, like really dark, and it wasn’t going to get any better. I was approaching the section of Highway 24 where there are hairpin turns, loose gravel, and wildlife crossing the road. To make matters worse it started to rain, keep in mind I’m still driving with only one headlight. This was a BIG deal.
Things Get Down Right Terrifying
Normally I would say having a vivid imagine is a great trait to have, but on this particular night, it was my worst enemy. I was driving westbound on Highway 24 through Redcliff heading into Minturn. Every turn was a vision of horror because I couldn’t see what was about to happen. My windshield was getting hit hard with rain, oncoming traffic kept flashing me because of my burnt out headlight, on top of all that I kept hearing my tire guys voice saying, “You’ll need to get new tires in August”.
At one point I had to either laugh at the situation or cry. I choose to laugh, saying to myself in a humurous voice, “Shit dude, this is really scary.”
I wanted to call someone just to chat and I still didn’t have any cell phone service. At this point I was approaching Gilman, the abandoned mining town that is said to be haunted. I kept having this vision of ghosts riding along with my car and helping me along the way. With every turn it was hard to see what was going to pop out at me. I must have slammed on the breaks about 7 times after seeing a mule deer whose eyes and jerking movements made me grip the steering wheel in fright.
I want readers to know that I’ve traveled this stretch of road several times and know the road very well. That being said, I mostly drive during the day and on this particular night it had some weird effect on me.
I finally made it down to Minturn where the street lights and reminded me that I’m not alone. I called my wife and explained the story to her. She could only laugh and said to me “Make sure to check the back seat.”
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