I will never forget the first time we took my mother camping. She was uncomfortable, missed her makeup and curling iron, and attracted mosquitoes like she's bathed in sugar water. After that she avoided the mountain trips like the plague. One year she did agree to join us in a civilized little cabin and she explored the little town while we went hiking.
When we returned to the cabin we found a woman with a much better attitude. Just outside of Breckenridge Summit County, there are a number of hot springs. These mineral rich streams are tamed to flow into pool and basins for soaking, creating all natural Jacuzzis. Mom had found one of these places and spent the afternoon soothing her aches and pampering her skin in the spring water.
In the Breckenridge Grand County area, hot springs bubble to the surface near as often a granite. The pools are naturally hot, but carefully regulated to prevent burns. There are very hot pools for therapeutic soaks that take the ache out of stiff joints, old injuries and any number of other ailments. Recreational pools are kept a bit cooler for swimming, and soaking for the purpose of mere relaxation. Some resorts have private pools for small groups and outdoor soaking pools as well. There is nothing quite like sitting outside in a simmering spring while the snow falls around you!
This history of these places is as rich as the water as well.The scent and sensation of the water led the natives to believe there was magic in these places, and modern worshipers agree. The Yampah hot spring near Glenwood Springs was closed to the public during the difficulties of the early 20th century and used as part of a naval convalescent hospital.
The hot springs near Breckenridge Colorado, Summit County weren't the only pampering that my mother found. In Vail and later in Breckenridge and Silverthorne she discovered day spas and salons enough to make a socialite weep. In the opinion of my well-bred mom, there is no better way to spend the day than soaking in gourmet mud, steaming in mineral springs, then having her face and hair fixed by a professional.
After this discovery, Mom was much more interested in joining us for our trips into the mountains. She explored every little town we went through in search of another Summit County hot spring or spa for her collection. She found springs with spas and spas that teach yoga. She had make-over; massages, manicures, and botox in offices that over look Vail Valley and soaked her elegant bones in hot springs that she shared with the ghosts of Presidents, Ute tribesmen, and movie stars.
According to Mom, the way to pick rocky mountain hot spring resort is based on the features they offer. Snag a few brochures and look for hotel and spa amenities, the number and variety of pools, tours, beauty shops, shopping and exercise offerings. Also, take a walk through the facilities before you pay for anything. While a good hot spring may look a big murky, it shouldn't be muddy and there should be accessible showers to rinse in before and after.
So next time you are planning a mountain retreat and your fastidious relative refuses to come, offer then a trip to the springs. Few will refuse, and after a few days of heavy hiking, you'll appreciate the chance to soak as well!
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