An Amazing Hot Springs - Sept 20, 2009

Randy fixed crepes for breakfast. We were going to drive into Denver, but on impulse we went the opposite direction to see what was out there. We ended up in Idaho Springs. It’s a small town that makes a living off the tourists, but it’s really nice. Very clean with cute stores and buildings, and the mountains are right in the houses’ back yards. We checked out the Information Center , which had an interesting display of old cameras and photos, and artifacts from gold miners; Idaho Springs was the site of a large gold strike. Then we went to the Indian Hot Springs. They have several hot spring options, including in caves; we’ve never been in a hot tub in a cave, so we took that one. The lobby is built over the caves so you go downstairs. There are separate areas for men and woman because everyone is supposed to go in nude. There are several baths in the cave, each about 10 x 4. Most of them were really, really hot but there was one that wasn’t quite so hot – probably about 105. Bathers are supposed to get into it to get acclimated to the high temperatures, then move to a hotter one, but I stayed in it. Afterwards we walked around Idaho Springs and got a burger and onion rings at the Main Street restaurant. We checked out a few stores, then took a short walk to see a big water wheel that was hand-built by one of the original gold miners. It still turns as it is fed water from a flume. Then we went back to the Indian Hot Springs for another soak. When we were finally ready to go, we drove out the other side of Idaho Springs towards Echo Lake, about 15 miles away in the mountains. The lake wasn’t anything special, but the drive there was spectacular. The aspens were starting to turn golden, and the road offered some magnificent views of the Arapaho National Forrest.
Some of the mountains were high enough to have snow on their peaks, although there isn’t snow anywhere else. The temperature did drop, though – to 41 degrees. We drove down the mountains another way, making a big loop to bring us back to Golden. Along the way we saw an elk doe and her nursing fawn, and then a small family of elk with a male who had huge antlers. A bit further one was a whole herd of elks. I can’t describe an elk bugle - it sounds a little bit like whale songs, but more intense.

We stopped at a store for some groceries, then came home to relax, and Randy made crab lasagna. A terrific wind roared thru the campgrounds around 10 pm. The camp hosts said a storm was due in.

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