DAY 130 – 01/22/2013 – Hot Springs and Cold Nights

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When it’s cold outside, a soak in a hot spring is blissful.

Our ski adventures have often included a “tap water” hot tub for apres ski. Colorado, as our cousin Huntly reminded us, has many beautiful, natural hot springs. Since the 19th century, Coloradans have piped the spring waters into recreational pools.

Located in the town of Salida, in the Arkansas River Valley, just a few miles from our RV park, is the Salida Pool.

Pool-front

Unlike the pools back home, the Salida pool is fed through 7 miles of pipe from springs high on Poncha Pass. The water is clear and hot and oh so good for your body.

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Native Americans enjoyed the hot springs long before this facility was built in 1937, during the Great Depression. Numerous updates over the years have resulted in these spring-fed pools.

Fresh spring water constantly flows into the pool

Fresh spring water constantly flows into the pool

The exercise pool is 90 degrees F. The soaking pool is around 102 degrees.

David enjoys the soaking pool

David enjoys the soaking pool

A week or so after our Salida pool experience, we used a coupon that came with the Monarch Pass to try out Mt Princeton Hot Springs, a few miles down the valley at the base of, where else, Mt Princeton.

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Our campground is temporarily without hot water for showers. A 20-year-old hot water heater failed. Since every pool facility also has hot showers, off we went to sample more of the local waters.

Mt Princeton facility

Mt Princeton facility

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Mt Princeton. From mtprinceton.org

Mt Princeton is part of the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Range in the Colorado Rockies. Mounts Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton are  “fourteeners”; peaks above 14,000 ft tall. And they are breathtakingly beautiful, one and all!

Chalk Creek

Chalk Creek, in an image from Colorado Guy.com

The source water for the Mt Princeton pools is Chalk Creek, originating up on the Continental Divide. Numerous hot springs pour into the creek. Some are diverted for the exercise and soaking pools.

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The exercise pool, 90 degrees, in the background. The soaking pool, 100 degrees, in the foreground. Image from the Mt Princeton website.

Many other natural hot springs feed right into the cold creek. If you scramble down a short, rocky embankment, you can also bathe in the warm pools along the sides of the creek.

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Chalk Creek pools, seen in the daytime, in a photo from the Mt Princeton springs site. We were there at night.

We were told to feel free to rearrange the rocks for just the right mix of cold creek and hot spring.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs we lay in the hot water in the cold night, we used our new knowledge from the Davis Observatory (here’s a link to that experience) to identify stars and planets.

Wow. A soak in nature’s hot tub under the starry, moonlit sky was just the balm we needed after many days of skiing!

– Jane

P.S. – Don’t worry, Huntly! Soon we are going to try Valley View Hot Springs, an even more “natural” hot spring. After that, we may graduate to an “off-the-grid” spring that we’ll have to hike to.

3 responses to “DAY 130 – 01/22/2013 – Hot Springs and Cold Nights

  1. vminichiello@gpstrategies.com

    man! that’s the life!! once we vacationed in the olympics in washington state and di something similar. sol duc springs. wonderful except it was a sulfur spring. smelled like eggs but still incredibly relaxing. a gaaggle of pools……skiing….mountains…….a small piece of heaven!

  2. Howdy Folks,Its Jason From NY. For hot showers…. pick up a solar shower bag at a camping supply shop. Heat the water in a pan upon your stove, use a funnel and pour it back into a gas can(makes for easy handling) then transfer it to the shower bag and enjoy. Have fun . Later Friends JayDate: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 21:10:45 +0000 To: shields1978@hotmail.com

  3. Jason! Man it would be fun to visit and cook out a meal! Yup, that old black bag solar shower has come to mind! Our Tramper Shower works fine…we’ve just bee spoiled by the big heated bath-house showers. Now we know where to hit the cool HOT SPRINGS!
    -David

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