After spending a couple days in Denver, Megan and I chose to head out towards Aspen to Conundrum Hot Springs. We planned on getting an early start but were turned around by a closed road through the mountains that would have taken us to Aspen from the East. Instead we had to back track a little, and take the long way from the West.
We were in for a 9 mile hike to the 100 Degree (F) Springs. A steady incline through a valley following the Conundrum Creek (or river?), and we were starting at 3:30pm. Having both never been there before, we didn't know what to expect from this trail. Since it is still early spring, we had to navigate snow covered trail for about 4-5 out of the 9 miles. The scenery was amazing. Tall mountains on both sides of us and a clear cold water flowing in the valley, interupted only by the occasional beaver dam.
Plowing through snow drifts and sinking up to 3 feet with a heavy pack on wasn't fun, but the trade off of being there this early in the year was that there was no one else around. It was quiet and peaceful.
After about 5 hours of hiking, we were quite exhausted and had to start using our headlamps due to the encroaching darkness. Unfortunately, there were no signs for us to gauge our progress and tell us if we were almost there. We decided to stop and set up camp when we began to hallucinate. The next morning we would find out we were less than a mile away from the hot springs our muscles craved so desperately the night before. Oh well. After breakfast, we made it to the springs and soaked in natures hot tub for a couple hours while admiring a breath taking view of the valley we spent the day before hiking through.
I forgot to realize that being a redhead without sunblock on a clear sunny day at 11,000 ft can be quite dangerous and after only about 30-45 minutes of exposure before putting on lotion, I have the red skin to remind remind myself to be a little smarter next time.
After a nice envigorating soak, we ate, packed up our stuff and headed out for the 9 mile return trip. The ambitious 18 miles definately took a toll on our bodies, but the outdoor experience was definately worth it.
Megan is preparing for a roadtrip out West, so she dropped my transient butt off in Gypsum, CO where I'll be staying for the next week with my buddies Ray and Morgan.
This weekend, its looking like we might take a trip out to Moab for some riding. I can't wait.
As for today, the hot tub has been sweet talking my aching body for a dip since last night and I think I am ready to make friends.

Dave