On a lighter note from the last post… Last week we got to host Brady, the 15 year old daughter of Julia’s former babysitter, Tammy (who is a lot more to her than that) for a few days. We had fun doing some touristy stuff and the girls also did a lot of card playing and hanging out. On Friday afternoon, Brady and the girls went off with Tammy and Larry to spend some time with them. Luke and I headed up US24 and stopped at Bierwerks, in Woodland park for a beer outside on the patio. After that we continued on to Buena Vista and found a microbrewery ands at at the bar for dinner. Then, we checked into our hotel, got on swimsuits and headed to Cottonwood Hot Springs. It was a very relaxed, small hot springs on the way to Cottonwood Pass. There were 5 pools of varying temperatures. They were built as naturally as possible, with stone edges and shelves and ledges here and there to relax and perch on. Some of the pools were quite deep, up to my shoulders. It had been raining before we went but the sky cleared and there were very few lights and it was wonderfully relaxing. The manager even came out at one point to hush a group of people who were talking and laughing quite loudly. There is a no alcohol rule as well and a “be calm” rule. We stayed there for about 2 hours until 10:00 and went back to the hotel to sleep. We got up in the morning and headed back up the pass to a hike I had researched online. It was a fabulous hike. It started from an unmarked trailhead and hiked up to almost tree line, through a dense woods, then a field with lots of wildflowers, a stream running through the tall grasses and a small quiet lake. It descended up after that and became a bit more rocky with several small stream crossings. It ended up a steep hill with a beautiful emerald lake before us. Luke sat by the shores and I climbed up a steep hill behind where I had almost 360 degree views. We could see several peaks, the furthest which was our own Pikes Peak at home.
We didn’t stay very long and headed back down to the car. We drove into Salida and passed a local market. We parked and picked some food out of the case, all from local ingredients, and had a lovely small lunch on the patio. After that we went to a nearby storefront and waited to go zip-lining. After signing some ridiculous rights away we went off in a van with 8 other people to the course. The zip lines were over a small canyon. We did a practice line and then gradually longer/faster lines, for a total of 6 or so. It was a really fun thing to do – and a bit challenging as you controlled your own braking and steering with your left hand on the cable. It was a lot of fun. After that we drove on US50 to Canon City. There is a winery we really like there and we went to the tasting room, tasted, and bought some wine. We headed to an old-school italian restaurant for dinner and then headed home. We slept in on Sunday morning. I slept in until 8:30 which is absolutely unheard of for me…very nice. The girls were returned to us around 10:00 after having had a wonderful time themselves. All in all, a fabulous weekend.