~Wednesday, May 4, 2022~
I couldn’t wait to see what the snow delivered to the upper peaks surrounding our campground after last night’s rainfall. The cold lingers, giving us a light dusting of snow this morning. No wonder the thermostat read 44 degrees this morning. Now ideally, we wouldn’t have chosen to be in Colorado this early, but we need to start making our way north if we’re going to land in Canada/ Alaska as we planned. It will be here before we know it. Plus we’d already spent enough time wintering in the South which wasn’t always as warm as we hoped.
What an amazing last day in the Ouray area. It was everything we’d hoped for and more. Our plans were to do something new and exciting followed by an afternoon touring around Ouray. The new and exciting part was soaking in a hot spring which neither of us had ever done before. I’ve done spas before but nothing like this. And typically, this is not Jeff’s thing so we had him choose which one he thought would be best. Ouray Hot Springs fit the bill, with more of a park recreational feel than a spa.
The facility includes 5 pools, 3 of which are geothermally heated, with no sulfur or chlorine smells, hot showers, lockers, and changing rooms. Plus, the outdoor setting couldn’t get any better with Switzerland-like views directly in front of us while our body soaked in all those healthy minerals. We didn’t realize the many health benefits to soaking in a natural pool, some of which date back thousands of years. It’s also thought that they alleviate ailments and diseases. But even if you’re not looking for healing properties, one can certainly relax. Rain, snow or shine, the facility is open year round. If we lived here, we would certainly get an annual pass. As we started our experience, the hostess gave us the low-down and encouraged us to make it a whole date day, having our pool time, heading into town for a little bubbly or wine perhaps, an early dinner, then another soak before closing. Hmmmm…..tempting.
By the time I met Jeff poolside, he had already met a very nice couple, Beth and Ariel, who had moved to Montrose recently, with the purpose of downsizing and simplifying their lives. She has been retired for a few years while her husband continues to work half remotely and half in the office.
We must have chatted for over 2 hours talking about our jobs, new lifestyles, moving, and travel. They try to make it to the hot springs once a week and highly recommend coming when it’s even colder outside (the coldest they’ve experienced is 5 degrees above zero). Man the steam coming off the geothermal pools must really be something with those kinds of temperatures. Today’s outdoor temps were in the low 40’s. Each pool varied by a few degrees. I preferred the 105 degree pool while Jeff favored both the 98 degree pool and the 77 degree lap pool. For me, it was fluctuating between the hot water and the invigorating cold air outside. It took a lot for me to muster up the courage to go from 105 to 77 degrees, but I knew I wouldn’t regret it. And I did not!! especially once I put my head under water. It felt so refreshing. One thing we did regret however, was not keeping up our water intake during our session, as I felt a little light-headed making my way back to the locker room. And there are plenty of reminders to stay hydrated with signs everywhere. With 2 Gatorades to go, the electrolyte replenishment seemed to do the trick.
Even though it was late afternoon, thinking most of the shops would be closed, we lucked out with a few businesses still open. One was the Ouray Shirt Company where Jeff was on a mission to find an Ouray baseball hat. Nothing struck his fancy, but I managed to find a long sleeve, hooded pull-over with Ouray and Ouray’s altitude 7,792 on the front. And we couldn’t have met the nicest women manning the shop that day. One was entertaining one of their friend’s newly adopted pup who had lost its leg, presumably from a coyote attack. It was doing amazingly well….playful and full of spunk. By the time we left the store, we felt like we’d made 2 new friends. If it weren’t for Jeff’s hungry appetite, we could have easily had an hour-long conversation about our travels and moves out of California. They said moving to Colorado was the best decision they’d ever made. On our way out, I made sure to give them our tag name (footprintsonwheels) to which they responded with an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up.
After our few hours at the Hot Springs and shopping, we sure built up an appetite. We were going to hit the Ouray Brewing Company, but found a really cool looking pub/Italian eatery called Colorado Boy Southwest Pub. Plus, we thought it would be good to try out something new. The timing was perfect in finding this little place as it started to snow. In the end, it was one of the best Artisan pizzas
I’d ever had with a to die-for sauce. Jeff raved about his meat-loaded pizza as well. And to
make our experience even better, our waiter was very personable and attentive. Intrigued about our travels, it looks like we’ve gained another follower. What an amazing day and a great way to cap off our time in Ouray.