For a scenic drive (the road can have washout issues, etc, so four wheel drive is recommended), easy hike, and a history lesson, check out the arrastra near Buena Vista, CO. An arrastra is a grinder (the method is thousands of years old), in which bedrock near a stream was used as a grinding surface. A pocket was drilled in the center and a pole placed in the pocket. A beam with a heavy stone to do the grinding was anchored at the base of the pole. Farther up, a second beam, used to turn the grinding stone, was hitched to a mule, donkey, or other beast of burden.
The arrasta is in good condition and looked quite artsy with water in the groove with bits of pollen and leaves floating in it.
It was fun to stand in the quiet sunshine, listening to the babble of the nearby stream and trying to imagine how the grinding stone sounded and the clops of a mule’s hooves on the bedrock going round and round. Good inspiration for western/historical writers.
It’s a beautiful area with many hiking, camping, and off roading opportunities.
More information about the history and directions can be found here: