Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Even Higher Road to Colorado

Not sure if you caught wind in my last post, but this was a whirl wind vacation. We had just a short time to see as much as possible. In the Southwest, there is so much immense beauty to take in. A guy I use to work with was a Harley Guy. He had a fancy Dresser and went on a two to three week trip every summer. When he did the Southwest, his description was "there ain't nothin worth nothin out there. Nothing but boring rocks and dirt. Hot and dust, nothing worth wasting time on. No wonder Sturgis is in South Dakota." I am so glad he felt that way, for I see the Southwest very differently.

For me, I see an immense beauty. I find myself in a state of awe often. The intensity of natural wonders often gets me all choked up. The Southwest is better off with out guys like Kenny. Stick to what you know, and remain ignorant to what you do not my man.

We took the even higher road(my title, not the official one) through the Sangre De Cristo mountains toward Colorado. We were heading to Pagosa Springs Colorado for a soak in the hot springs there. The road went way up into the mountains offering spectacular views. We were almost at tree line as we went up and over. The profusion of wild flowers was a beyond words. We passed by fields of Indian Paint brush such as you see above. Nothing but rocks and dirt was what Kenny saw.

Beth had set us up with the hotel right at the springs. It was a slight splurge, but if we had booked the Travetell down the road and come to soak for one day, it would have cost us significantly more. Beth is good at adding up the numbers and seeing where the real deal is. 24 hour access to the springs sounded good to me.

Many of you probably have never been to natural hot springs. At Pagosa, the water just comes right out of the ground heated by the volcanic activity deep underground. Many pools have been created to offer different temperatures and experiences.

The water contains many minerals that slowly collect into these beautiful formations.

They slowly build up crystal by crystal. There is a good deal of sulfur in the water also. The smell of sulfur takes a little getting used to.

I should had inquired what were the prominent minerals that make up these frozen water falls.

This water coming directly out of a rock is so hot it will take your skin off.

They call this spring The Mother Spring. It is furthest from the San Juan River and supplies a number of the pools lower down in the resort.

There are 23 separate pools to choose from. My favorite was called the Cliff Pool. It tended to be on the hotter side of things at 108 degrees. I also enjoyed jumping into the Lobster Pot which was running 111 degrees, for about 30 seconds, then dashing to the Stream Pool which was running at 89 degrees. I went back and forth numerous times between the two pools. EXHILARATING FOR SURE!!!!

As a family we enjoyed Clouds in My Coffee pool a great deal. It was the highest one in the spa. The temperature was at 101 degrees. Halle and Ava tended to stick to the Dancing Waters Pool that was about 85 degrees all the time.

The best time to enjoy the pools is at 5 am. I had the whole place to myself for over an hour and a half. I sipped my coffee, read my book, and just relaxed. What a wonderful stop this was. I am very glad we made the stop here for 30 hours. Of course there was a lot more that we needed to see, so we had to keep moving.

Durango is an hour from Pagosa Springs, so we headed over there for visit with Scott and Illa. Unfortunately Illa and her daughters had left the day before to visit her Father in Turkey. We had an awesome visit with Scott and Olli none the less. Durango is an awesome town. You can walk or ride a bike almost any where you want to go. Every one is very environmentally conscious there also. Great place to visit for sure. A future trip to Durango is planned for certain.

I really wanted to ride the train to Silverton but time just did not permit.

Maybe on my next visit. Scott says the train will take mountain bikers up on the mountain and it is all down hill coming back. Now that sounds like a blast to me. Thanks again Scott for all the hospitality.
Time to move on again...


Steve "Dancin" Hansen said...

Great photos, Frank. Feels like we're on vacation with y'all. I especially like the train shots. Safe travels...

tinman54 said...

Great country out there! My wife and I could spend a lot of time out there. My daughter and son in law just moved back from a year living 2hrs north of Denver. We were fortunate enough to visit them twice this year before they came back. Glad you had a great trip!

Aluminium Idler said...

You can't beat a natural thermal pool Frank... good for the soul. I've added Pagosa Springs to my US wish list.

Sorry to report that the 53 Flying Cloud is held at the last fence (leaf spring bushes & Zolatone) and won't be ready for this summer. So we're off to Cornwall in our trusty yurt. No hot springs but lots of creeks, backwaters & the odd english beer.

Have fun