Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In a perfect world my husband and I would be able to travel to an exotic location every month. Unfortunately, even though we fly for practically pennies, you still have to spend money on hotels, lodging etc. which gets expensive especially if you'd perhaps like to own a home someday. So when we can't fly out of the country or even out of the state, my husband and I have taken to traveling the state we live in Colorado.
Neither of us is originally from the state so it seems there is always some place new to explore. Last fall was when we got engaged so we spent a lot of time in the mountains driving all to different spots looking for a place to hold our wedding. Ultimately we decided not to get married in Colorado but we did experience the Aspens in the fall when we went to take our engagement photos:
These pictures were taken up near Evergreen in early October of last year. Aspens are my favorite tree and each fall they go from green to this brilliant yellow color. Because Aspens are all on the same root system, they always appear in clusters mixed in with the spruces and evergreen trees. So driving through the mountains you will see this amazing mix of yellow and green and even some reds on the slopes. The downside to Aspens is the leaves fall off really easily so one big storm and all the yellow is gone. We didn't get to make it up there before the snow hit this year and took all the yellow from the mountains.

When we actually got engaged it was on a hike of Hanging Lake trail which is a few hours away from Denver. It's a fairly short hike, under 2 miles but it's very steep and so full of rocks that you almost need leeky poles to maintain your balance. What's unique about the trail is that it's right off the highway and if you weren't looking for it you probably wouldn't know it was there, although it always seems to attract the tourists to and from Glenwood Springs. Dogs also aren't allowed either which is a shame because I love taking my dog hiking but also a blessing because animals don't tend to stay on the trail and mess up the foliage. Once you reach the top of the climb you are greeted by this:

It's probably not a climb worth doing in the winter, but in the summer it was fantastic. The water is crystal green and blue and so special you can't even stick a toe in there or you will damage the ecosystem that makes it this way. The waterfalls weren't really running at full force this day due to lack of rain, but if you climb around them there are actually a few smaller waterfalls that feed into them at the top. A great day trip from the city especially since there aren't too many natural bodies of water like this in Colorado.

Ever since my mom and I went to Paris for my 26th Birthday, I have made it a tradition to leave town to celebrate. I prefer to spend several days celebrating the occasion so what could be more perfect than a vacation? Well last year we went to Costa Rica (a separate blog post altogether) but this year we had to choose a place a little closer to home since we were on a wedding budget. Being that the flight loads were looking horrible to all the Caribbean destinations we decided to google Colorado and see where we could go for a weekend getaway. What we found was this:
In the picture I'm actually standing in the Uti pool, one of 26 at the hot sulfur springs in hot sulfur springs Colorado. I never knew such a place existed before this and I've lived in Colorado almost 5 years now! Of course we have been to the Indian sulfur springs in Idaho Falls (a great place to stop on your way home from skiing but a little hokey) and Glenwood Springs after we hiked hanging lake (it's an Olympic sized swimming pool fed by a natural hot springs underground) but never a place like this. What makes this place so wonderful is that kids aren't allowed, it's quiet, there's a huge range in pools temperature wise (from 98 to over 108) and it's open late into the night. At the Indian hot springs you have to rent a private cave pool otherwise men and women are separated because you have to be butt naked. At Glenwood it's more like a theme park, but at these hot springs you can choose whatever pool you want for as long as you want and you can even leave and come back anytime when you buy a day pass. The downfall is, you smell like sulfur and so does your bathing suit and the smell never really comes out of your swimsuit or towel. The waters are full of minerals so they are excellent for your skin though so you leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I also got a sea salt and lemon oil massage when I was there which was a total body exfoliation although it's a little harsh on the skin (not quite so relaxing as it is beneficial). Hot Sulfur Springs, Colorado is a tiny town located outside of winter park so I'm hoping we can go back in the winter after a day of skiing. Nothing is more fantasatic than soaking in a hot spring after a full day of skiing. It's also great for hiking and seeing wildlife (we saw a bear running through town and a moose on the side of the road) and though I don't fish I saw several people doing so.

I love living in a state that affords me the opportunity to experience something completely out of my element without me having to go through airport security or worry about who can babysit my dog. I know with the economy being what it is, a lot of people are looking towards "stay-cations" to save money but still get out of the house. I can definitely attest to the fact that it's well worth googling your city for things to do next time you are bored and want to get away.

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