Springs and Things
My sister Kristen lives more than a comfortable drive away. So, this summer, Jason and I rendezvoused with her and my parents in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, a scenic destination in between our homes. There we enjoyed a long weekend of relaxation and exploration. Perfecto!
Our first morning in Steamboat, Jason and I hiked to Fish Creek Falls with my parents while we waited for my sister to arrive, if you can call a half-mile-roundtrip stroll a hike. Fish Creek Falls, a 283-foot cascade, is pretty but popular. I think most visitors that day had to walk farther from their cars to the trailhead than from the trailhead to the falls due to the parking mess.
After my sister and her husband John appeared, we spent most of the rest of the day at Strawberry Park Hot Springs. These springs have an exceptionally productive outpouring. The park contains five massive pools filled with varying mixes of 104-degree mineral water and cold creek flow. Eat it up Evian! We spent hours alternating between chilling ourselves in the river and scalding ourselves in the hottest of the pools. It was incredibly soothing and a lot of fun.
The next day, we started the morning with a very long accidental detour through the local farmers market. We sampled fine maple syrups and bought handmade jewelry for each other before heading back to our condo for lunch, boxes of Palisade peaches in tow.
After a mellow meal on our condo balcony, we wandered around the Yampa River Botanic Park. This peaceful six-acre garden is taken care of exclusively by volunteers and the love shows. Kristen and I, both avid photographers, went a little picture happy there and enthusiastically pointed out shot spots to each other constantly.
We stopped and rode The Howler Alpine Slide afterward, John’s special request. Neither Kristen nor John had ever ridden an alpine slide before. Kristen was a bit nervous but she didn’t need to be; the breaking mechanism on her cart was malfunctioning and she probably could have walked down the mountain faster than she moved through the chute.
The photography mania continued that evening. Kristen and I went to a historic barn that has been encircled by Steamboat Resort over the years to take pictures; Jason tagged along. Frankly, this dilapidated structure was a little creepy, which made Jason really happy.
We spent the remainder of the night eating Indian food, chatting, and playing games. My dad was the quiet winner of both Phase 10 and Saboteur. Sneaky boy!
The next morning, after checkout, we went to Steamboat Resort. There we took the gondola up Mt. Werner and trekked around the one-mile Vista Nature Trail. Then we ate lunch with over 9,000 feet displayed below us like the prickly green face of some unshaven crag giant.
On our way out of town, we made one last picture stop. The More Barn, an iconic feature of Steamboat Springs, was a great place for yet more barn photography. (Yes, that clever wording was intentional.)
What a wonderful weekend! I’m so grateful for a family I can vacation with and return appreciating and enjoying even more, instead of less. Too often with relatives it is the other way around. I know you know exactly what I’m talking about.