When Judy Messoline first moved here in 1995 to raise cattle, she became intrigued by the many UFO stories told to her by the locals. She eventually abandoned the ranch idea and in 2000, built a special UFO Watchtower, a rectangular metal platform standing 10 feet high above the ground where up to 60 people at a time can gather and swap tales of unexplained experiences.
"We see objects that we cannot explain -- lights that go real fast and stop, or they'll go in one direction and suddenly go in the opposite direction without stopping," Messoline told AOL.
"The closest one we saw from here between the tower and the mountains was cigar-shaped -- narrow and really long -- and illuminated from the inside. Over a dozen people saw it moving rapidly from the north to the south."
So far, of the nearly 60 sightings since she opened her alien lookout, Messoline has had 26 sightings of her own.
"During the day, we see silver balls and saucer-shaped objects. We've also had reports of people driving down the country roads out here who've seen saucers flying right next to them," she added.
Since 2000, an estimated 20,000 visitors have journeyed from around the world to Messoline's UFO Watchtower hoping for a glimpse at an otherworldly sight in the sky. And even if they aren't lucky enough to spot an unknown light or craft, they're seldom disappointed.
Messoline's tower sits on 600 acres of land she owns just outside the town of Hooper, where skywatchers experience the majesty of the Rocky Mountains (surrounded by the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo ranges) by day. At night, the incredibly clear, non-polluted skies present the wonders and astronomical vistas of the Milky Way galaxy.
And then there's Messoline's "vortex garden" -- a large, widespread area where there are, according to various psychics, portals to another universe. It's a place where Messoline encourages visitors to leave personal trinkets behind.
"Folks really like the idea of leaving something of theirs in that garden: sunglasses, hats and toys -- some things are really so nice that I have to patrol the garden to make sure that things stay put."
Messoline has her own theory about why her particular 600-acre plot and the surrounding environment are so UFO, vortex energy-friendly.
"There have been documented UFO sightings here since the 1600s, so it's nothing new and it's considered the nation's hot spot for UFO experiences," she said. "Some say it's the spirituality of the valley -- native Americans consider the valley floor as sacred."
If UFOs aren't your cup of tea, there are other activities near this out-of-the-way tourist spot that might suit your fancy. Don't miss the local alligator farm, the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a mountain train and geothermal hot spring pools.
And you can't beat the price to check out the UFO Watchtower. "We charge $2 a person, or $5 a car -- whichever's cheapest," said Messoline.
Her original dream was to have a log house on 100 acres with a 6-foot-high privacy fence around it, to keep out the neighbors. Messoline ended up with the log house but with no privacy fence.
And after so many years of sightings of strange lights and objects in the sky above and around her Colorado home, Messoline's belief system has been deeply affected.
"I used to always believe that there had to be life someplace else because the universe is just too massive for there not to be. But I know it now."