Hot Springs

This past Saturday we FINALLY made a trip into the mountains!!

We have experienced some car issues in the less than two years we have lived in Colorado and having lived most of our lives on pretty flat lands (Indiana and Florida), the twists & turns, the steep inclines and downgrades are pretty nerve-racking!  Chris has much more confidence than I; however, we both are white-knuckling it at times!!

We decided to face our fears and take a trip for our first ever hot springs experience!  The night before was a full moon and I wanted to bathe in the fully-charged waters!  (The only thing better would have been to be up there Friday nite to soak while bathed in the full moon light!!)

Waking about 5:15, we were out the door in less than an hour!

The drive is around two hours, heading west on I70 out of Denver then north on Hwy 40.  We passed by Idaho Springs and Winter Park ~~ in between the two is when we encountered the up & down spiraling in the mountains.

Fortunately, we hit no traffic on the way up, making for a slightly more comfortable weekend drive.

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Hot Sulphur Springs Resort and Spa in Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado, was our final destination.  Our friends, Stephanie & Minh, made a trip here a couple months ago and that is why I picked this location.  You have access to all of the mineral spring-fed pools and a cool/cold swimming pool for only $18.50pp.

The website doesn’t show all of the 20+ springs at the resort, so we really didn’t know what to expect.  We had our bathing suits, towels, coverups and sunglasses.  I also had my daily face moisturizer with 18 SPF (thankfully!), too.  We packed our water bottles and snacks: bananas, Juice Plus+ nutrition bars, veggies and mixed nuts.  (In retrospect & for future trips, we will pack sun hats and sunscreen!  And might consider staying over to be able to experience the hot hot springs under the starry night sky and again first thing in the chilly morning air.)

There is a large enough locker room, with lockers, showers, changing rooms, toilets and sinks.  We changed into our suits, placed our towels, coverups & sunscreen in a bag (left the rest in a locker) and headed out to the maze of pools.  The hottest are at the top and they become less hot as you make your way back to the front, where the swimming pool beckons you with its sweet sweet coolness!

We went to the most scenic pool, the only one with a natural cave & waterfall, first.

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It was fairly warm and we were able to remain shaded during our soak.  After our drive and having looked so forward to this, I melted into the pool!  It is recommended to spend no more than 10 minutes at a time in each pool.  Then taking a 5-10 minute break before entering another and/or taking a cool shower or dip in the swimming pool.

We hopped around to several more pools, trying out the different temps like Goldilocks and the three bears’ beds!  We went to one, Backyard Pool, which is under cover (and we were looking for some shade).  I went in to my knees and could only remain like a minute before getting the heck out!  My legs, from the knees down, were red from the intense heat!  Another, further up the hill, was so very hot that I only got one foot in!  There was a guy, laying on a lounger, who called me brave for even getting that far!  I think it was a 109-112+ degrees pool!  No wonder neither of these pools were occupied!!  Sheesh!  They would be ideal at night when the temps drop dramatically in the high country!  I would try them again….but only when it is super cold outside!

We went down to the swimming pool, where we proceeded to jump full in!  Whoa!  What a difference!!!  However, it was refreshing and you acclimate quickly.  It was a warm & sunny day…no clouds to provide a moment of respite.  We then spent a short spell on lounge chairs under the shade of a canopy.   Our entire day at the springs was relaxing!

We made every effort to, at least, dip into every pool.  I know there was one all the way up, which would have been very hot, we didn’t hit.  First, it was occupied when we got there and second, it then became just too hot outside and we knew our limits on which pool temps we liked.

There is a big pool that is covered by a tent which is like bath water.  However, that is where you will find most kids and families.

There are a couple indoor pools, too.  One is called the Solarium and the other, while I cannot recall the name, is more mineral-ly and has a sign that states it is good for the nerves, muscles & bones and the darker the water, the more mineral content.

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There is one pool, off by itself, with a pretty great view (many of them have some awesome views of nature)!  We waited until we saw a couple girls exit and hot-footed it over.  While we are soaking up both the healthy waters and sunshine, Chris spots a snake!  What?!?  I hadn’t even considered such a possibility!  But there we were, smack dab against the mountain…where wildlife lives!  I couldn’t relax any longer for fear it would slither over!  It was small, but we had to scare it into a hole to walk back.

We spent another break under the shade of a different canopy, while enjoying our nutrition bars.

We spent about 4 hours at the resort, hitting the swimming pool and the “bathwater” pool once more.  We decided to leave as more people were filling up the place and we decided to make a stop in Idaho Springs on our way back to Denver.  Though you don’t have to, we rinsed off before getting back into our clothes for the return drive.

I was surprised (and disappointed) that showering before entering the pools was not a requirement.  Or that wearing deodorant, perfume, body lotion, makeup and hair care products wasn’t forbidden.  (When we were in the very mineral-rich indoor pool, this elderly lady got in … she had on that “old lady Avon” perfume which almost choked me when the hot water made it waft throughout the place.)  To promote this as “Where the Ute Indians (and their horses and dogs) once bathed, healed mind, body, spirit and relaxed in the sacred waters…”, I would think attempting to keep those waters pristine and pure for all to continue to reap the healing benefits would be of utmost concern.  “Over 200,000 gallons of fresh hot mineral spring water flow through our pools and baths each day.  Temperatures are 98 to 112 degrees F.  No chemicals are added, no filtering … All natural.”  I would think all of the aforementioned beauty aids would be strictly prohibited.

Let me share with you the elements which you will absorb when you “take the waters” (as taken directly from the resort brochure):

Sodium: All cells are bathed in sodium-containing fluid.

Sulfate: Forms molecular bridges to create firm proteins in hair, nails and skin; rids the body of poisons.  If you find white particles floating in the water, they are sulphur and sodium.  Rub then on your skin.  It helps keep your skin young.

Chloride: Balances body fluids, acids and bases; activates enzymes in the saliva.

Silica: Gives strength to bones, nerves, mucous membranes, nails and hair.

Potassium: Helps muscle function.

Calcium: Helps build bones, teeth and maintain bone strength.

Fluoride: Forms strong, decay-resistant teeth; maintenance of bones.

Magnesium: Helps build bones and nerves; makes and breaks down protein cycles; releases energy from glycogen.  Tiny dark particles in the water are magnesium.

Lithium: Makes you feel tranquil.

Trace Elements: Iron, Manganese, Zinc and Arsenic.

We saw the white floaties in every pool and felt the tranquility & restorative benefits.  I would return to a hot springs, though I would check out another for variety and comparison.

There are so many ways to maintain our health and wellness, some are out-of-the-ordinary.  I highly recommend everyone do this at least once in life, if the opportunity presents itself!  And, if you aren’t a scaredy cat like me who avoids the mountains when there is any kind of precipitation, drive up there in winter to enjoy the hot springs amid the snow & cold.  Preferably under a full moon!

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