In our time rolling through the Rockies, we were lucky enough to have friends come to visit us. I took a couple of vacation days and, combined with the holiday, we managed to pack in a lot of adventure. I caught a cold that made me miserable for about a week, but the only adventure I missed was a drive to the top of Mount Evans. A significant part of our fun was enjoying three hot springs. That may sound odd considering the heat “bubble” most of the country was suffering under, but at nine thousand feet we had comfortable days and nights cold enough to need the heater. Plus, we love very little in life more than soaking in hot water.
Our first soak was Iron Mountain Hot Springs, an amazing place with many pools, a view of the Colorado River, and gorgeous red mountains. So strikingly red it is truly shocking I was too lazy to take a photo, yet here I am nailing it. We happened to be camping on the other side of Glenwood canyon from Iron Mountain and with the years of drought that canyon had severe wildfires last year. It is still incredibly gorgeous and an engineering marvel, but with recent rains, it is now getting frequent mudslides that can cause long closures of Interstate 70 through the canyon.
We slipped through shortly after they cleared a slide and enjoyed our day of soaking and a lovely Thai dinner. Home we go, only to find the cool rain we enjoyed while soaking caused a new mudslide. Google maps had us driving almost four hours to get home, but Apple had a route that was just over two hours. Off we headed onto roads that were narrow with crumbling edges, long drops, and heavy traffic of other Apple maps users. It was such a rugged route Google didn’t even think it was a road. Our friend Steve did a great job of navigating the dangerous route, but it was a real clench your buttocks ride. We got through that section just before dark and felt for the many people we passed just starting into it as darkness descended. There were trailers and RV’s that had no idea what lay ahead. If this happens to you, go the other way.
Our second soak was Strawberry Hot Springs. A bit of history on this; for months my calendar every morning said “Strawberry Hot Springs”. Apparently, they open up the reservation system at random intervals announced on Twitter so my wife checked every day like it was tickets to Comic-Con. Well worth the effort I think. It is nestled down into a valley with views to die for and a stream running through it. The hot water trickles down from one side of the valley traveling from pool to pool until it mixes with the stream in a large swimming area that is cool, but not mountain stream cool because of the hot water. This is definitely on my top three list for hot springs. You can rent an adorable tiny wagon and spend the night. If you are in the area celebrating, I think this would be absolutely divine. In fact, this is a possible twenty-year anniversary spot for us.
Our final soak was Sulfur Hot Springs and it was also very nice but, as the name may indicate, it was sulfurious. A huge number of pools with varying temperatures and mineral content including two pools with magnesium so potent the water was opaque. Those pools were the strongest of smells and Kendra and I spent time in both these covered gems. I kid you not, the next morning when I dropped the kids off at the pool it smelled exactly like those magnesium pools. The lack of photos is really chapping my ass, but I’ll blame it on my cold and hope I don’t do it again.
Rocky Mountain National Park
O…M…G! My favorite National Park to date. There was a lot of burn damage, including the ranger station at the entrance, but it was absolutely gorgeous. This is a must-visit location as no picture could possibly do it justice. I was still not recovered enough to hike, but the views from the car and pullouts were breathtaking. Within a mile of the entrance, I saw my very first moose in the wild. I have spent many weeks, miles from civilization looking for a wild moose with no joy, then I see two in a single drive through this treasure.
Vacation over and back to the same old grind of going from beautiful place to beautiful place. It is a tough life, but someone has to do it.
Monday was an abnormally long travel day. We started very early to slip through Glenwood canyon before the rains and spent over eight hours traveling. Vail pass had construction and twice had signs that read “Extreme Bump”. I slowed to thirty-five miles an hour and would have gone five if I didn’t think someone might rear-end me. They were not exaggerating on those bumps.
We are now settled into the shade of Junipers near a lake outside of Park City, Utah. I’ve only gone on two short walks with the dog, but I can already tell I like it. A bit dusty, and hotter, but a lot more oxygen than we had last week.
Cali and Shanti conversations #1
Shanti: That was bullshit. All those people came to visit me and I was tied far from them denying them the joy of me.
Cali: Uh huh, sure.
Shanti: You saw the looks they gave me! They obviously came to enjoy me, not the parental unit. Those two are more boring than watching paint dry.
Cali: I’m pretty sure they mostly wanted to pet me. I thought I might need a restraining order against the ginger.
Cali: We have loose dry soil and trees!
Shanti: What are you so happy about? We just spent the entire day in that death trap on wheels. I swear to Dog we caught air in Vail pass. We are lucky to be alive.
Cali: Bitch, please. I took a nap in our air-conditioned home and we were here. The servants even let us out immediately. It is warm and dry and delightful.
Shanti: I hate you just a little bit.
May peace find you.