As I mentioned in my last blog post about the Broadmoor Resort and Hotel in Colorado Springs, my husband and I planned to celebrate our anniversary in two parts. We enjoyed the luxury and the history of the Broadmoor, as the first part, and now we were going on an adventure in NW Colorado to Steamboat Springs in Routt County, for the second part. This was a new area that we had not seen before, so our anticipation was high. (All photos and photo collages will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on)
It was early October, and we thought we might have already missed most of the autumn color, but we were pleasantly surprised to see there was still many areas that had a beautiful warm autumn glow. As usual, I snapped photos as my husband drove.
The topography of this area of Colorado was very unique and varied....
...some of it reminded us of the badlands in South Dakota or the Painted Desert in Arizona.
There were long tracks of wilderness...
....as well as fertile valleys that contained rivers and large ranches.
We drove over Rabbit Ears Pass towards Steamboat Springs. Although not as high or treacherous as many mountain passes, it is often closed for a time in winter because of heavy snow.
Again, as we approached Steamboat Springs, we saw many ranches and lots of hay making going on.
Steamboat Springs is an internationally known winter ski resort town.
Steamboat Springs contains the Steamboat Ski Resort, which is located on Mount Werner, in the Park Range east of Steamboat Springs, and also the smaller Howelsen Ski Area. If you click on to enlarge the photo collage above you can see a statue of Carl Howelsen in downtown Steamboat and read why he is called "The Father of Skiing in Colorado," as he introduced ski jumping and skiing to Colorado in 1914. The Howelsen Hill Ski area has sent more skiers to international competition than any other area in North America and has been the training ground for more than 64 Olympians making over 90 Winter Olympic appearances.
My husband and I enjoyed the town of Steamboat Springs and found so much to do there! We arrived on a Friday afternoon, and after checking into our hotel we walked up and down the downtown main street, looking in the shops, and a few of the many art galleries. We also walked along a portion of the very scenic 7.5 mile Yampa River Core Trail that runs through the heart of town during our stay. During the warm summer months there are often tubers floatimg on the river. There were many wonderful restaurants in town, and we celebrated the actual day of our anniversary with a gourmet meal at Harwigs--a Steamboat institution for 32 years. If you'd like to see what we ate, you can click on my Instagram on this link and scroll to the LEFT. I often update my Instagram account more timely than my blog, and if you'd like to follow me there I'd appreciate it.
The Steamboat area has 150 geothermal hot springs that were revered by the Native Americans and pioneers alike. The name "Steamboat" was actually given to the town because a spring there made a sound that reminded settlers of a steamboat chugging down a river. Unfortunately, construction of the railroad in 1909 made the sound go away. In the heart of town there are the Old Town Hot Springs pools in a very modern facility, but we chose to drive to the more rustic Strawberry Park Springs a short distance away.
Strawberry Park Springs is about a 15 minute drive up a mountain through some beautiful aspen groves. The last two miles of the road are not paved, so during certain months four wheel drive or snow chains are required. There are also shuttle services that will bring you to Strawberry Park Springs from Steamboat Springs.
The hot mineral springs are open year round and are family friendly during the day but only those 18 years and over are allowed to use the springs in the evening, as wearing bathing suits are optional after dark.
The hot mineral springs are contained in very natural looking pools. The 147 degree hot mineral spring water coming out of the ground is mixed with the cold Strawberry Creek water and channeled into the pools. The top pool is 105-106 degree F, and as the water flows toward the two lower pools it cools two degrees in each one.
The steaming hot mineral water that flows beneath the rocks keeps the area warm, even in cool weather. The pools are drained and cleaned every week. If you look at my husband standing in one of the pools in the lower right of the collage, you can see how the water is crystal clear. The hot spring water felt so delightful! We stayed in the hottest pool for most of our visits as it was so relaxing. We would stay in for about 15 - 20 minutes and then get out and lay in one of the lounge chairs, repeating this routine many times. We stayed a few hours during the day over the weekend and did not participate in the bathing suit optional evenings. Facilities include restrooms, heated cabin for changing and picnic areas. There were private areas for massage and Watsu aquatic therapy. No smoking or alcohol or pets are allowed.
Strawberry Park Springs is truly a beautiful setting and a fabulous experience to enjoy! It, and Steamboat Springs, made the second part of our anniversary celebration truly memorable. We did more activities while in the area, but they will be saved for future posts. Colorado seems limitless in its beauty and availability for a variety of natural experiences. I feel very fortunate to now live here after enjoying New York City for most of my life. It feels as if I've enjoyed the best of two worlds!
Thank you all for your wonderful best wishes on our 41st anniversary. I sometimes feel like it is impossible that so many years have passed, but I am so pleased that our years together have been happy ones, and I hope and pray we will be blessed with many, many, more!
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