Most people have a happy place—a magical location that makes them do an internal double back handspring layout.
For me, three things have always stamped a smiley face on my forehead:
- Being outdoors
And that short list is what led me to figuring out my sweet spot on Earth—natural hot springs. Oh the joy. Oh the steam, and healing water, and beer in my hand to offset the health of it all. I.ADORE.HOT.SPRINGS.
From Rotorua, New Zealand (my absolute fav, Kerosene Creek)
to the salt plains of Bolivia,
and Ojo De Agua on the Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua,
I just can’t get enough. Hot springs and I go together like chocolate and peanut butter, but that doesn’t mean I’m not picky. I’m a bit of a hot springs snob. I prefer springs that haven’t been tampered with by man, but those are hard to find. Most have concrete pools, wood siding, stairs, and an entrance fee for climbing into a giant container for human soup.
I prefer the secret hike in, undress on the banks, tiptoe into the stream, sink into the sand, and lean against some reeds type of hot spring. And I definitely want to be outside instead of inside. Whoever thought an indoor hot tub was a good idea probably had something to do with stirrup pants.
So for my 40th birthday in November, I did some research, and I decided on Strawberry Park in Steamboat Springs, CO for a weekend of wrinkled skin and flaccid muscles.
There are tons of natural hot springs peppered across the USA, but Strawberry Springs is supposed to be not only the best in Colorado, but also one of the best in the nation.
I must admit though, Strawberry Springs only won by a narrow margin. These contenders came in swingin’:
- Cougar Springs in Eugene, OR http://www.eugeneoutdoors.com/cougar-hot-springs/ (But temperature is rain dependent, which is highly disappointing because the name was just so perfect.)
- Conundrum Hot Springs in Aspen, CO http://www.colorado.com/articles/5-colorado-hikes-hot-springs (But the 8.5 mile hike supposedly starts getting sketchy in November, and that’s a whole lot of work for a b-day jaunt. I didn’t want to pull a party tendon.)
- Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route (But I didn’t think I could convince all my friends to bike a trail with me for hours on end when sometimes I can’t get them to scoot over on the couch.)
So that’s that. I’m locked in for 40. I’m letting Colorado take me down, cause we’re going to, Strawberry Springs. Nothing is real. And nothing to get hung about. Strawberry Springs 4eva.