Uraven, CO – Where Warm Waters Halt…

by Jeff


I have been following the search for FF’s treasure for about three years. There is so much information and so many possibilities out there that my head would spin every time I started to read the posts on this site. I stopped reading the posts many months ago, but I was drawn to click on germanguys post “could it be here?”

I’m not going to comment on how he got to the destination.  Germanguys post leads us to the intersection of 141 and Y11 which is the first bridge access approaching from the south to the former town site of Uravan Colorado. If you continue north a few more miles you will see the only building in the Uravan area on your left: The Umetco building. Turn left and cross the bridge over the San Miguel river, then stay to the right,  continue for a mile or so to the confluence of the San Miguel and the Delores rivers.

This in my opinion is where “Warm Waters Halt.”

View from "Three Crosses"

View from “Three Crosses”

The warm water Delores river flows into Paradox valley through the town of Bedrock, Colorado. From this point the water is pumped out of the river, and is highly concentrated with salt as it flows through Paradox Valley.  The water gets desalinated and is used for local irrigation.

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The reason it is called Paradox Valley is because the valley was caused by a giant salt dome that collapsed which changed the course of the river. From here the river flows North until it merges with the Colorado river. As the Delores river leaves Paradox valley it eventually trickles into the confluence of the Delores and San Miguel river. The San Miguel is a cold water river that breathes new life to the Delores river.

There is a water flume constructed in the 1890’s above and below the confluence, it was built high in the canyon walls. The original flume was around 15 miles long leading to a gold mine that was mining placer gold by pumping water onto the mountain to find the gold.

Heading north on the Delores river…”taking it in the canyon down”  whether it be in a boat or in a car will be a beautiful ride. The collapse of the salt dome left behind massive canyon walls that are spectacular to view from the river.

About 10 miles from the confluence is the “Stock Trail” that leads up to Sewemup Mesa.
This is where cattle rustlers “The McCarty Gang” were said to have brought stolen cattle. It is such a desolate area and was easy to hide cattle. They were said to have cut out the brand on the cow and then sewed the cow back up and waited for the wound to heal. Then they would brand the cattle with their own brand. Hence: Sewemup Mesa.

FF said he would be happy if it took a thousand years for someone to find his treasure. I am thinking he went where very few have gone, or will chose to go on purpose…

Sewemup Mesa

Sunrise in John Brown Canyon

Isolated from development and most human activity by a fortress-like bastion of high, almost impregnable cliffs, Sewemup Mesa is one of the most ecologically pristine areas in western Colorado.

A striking band of thousand-foot-high cliffs of Wingate Sandstone encircles more than 75% of Sewemup Mesa. These cliffs rise out of the slickrock gorge of the Dolores River on the east, and to the west they tower above Sinbad Valley, the remnants of a collapsed salt dome. Domes of pink-banded Entrada Sandstone dot the top of the mesa, breaking the sloping landscape of pinyon-juniper forest. Many huge ponderosa pines line the canyons of the mesa top and grow directly from sandstone terraces along the mesa’s western cliffs. Few places offer more exhilarating solitude than that at the edge of Sewemup Mesa’s soaring cliffs.”

Continue north taking the canyon down and you will pass rd 72 which leads you into the only area of Sewemup accessible by automobile. Continue a few more miles you enter the town of Gateway Co. and you will find rd 4.4 aka: John Brown canyon Rd which will lead you on a back country adventure all the way to Moab. This road is no place for the meek. I can attest to that!

Below JBC rd.  are many dry river beds that climb into JBC that in the monsoon season could at anytime have waters high, and you certainly will not be paddling up any of these creeks.

Now all you have to do is find FF’s blaze…

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Good luck!
Happy hunting the area is beautiful!