I had a roommate back in college who was, well, let’s call her a hippy of sorts. She was into fire dancing, drum circles, and the clothing-optional hotsprings north of Steamboat, Strawberry hot springs. I’d been there during the daylight where clothing is required, and definitely wanted to go back.
Luckily, our route went right through it. Not just to it, but in one end, and out the trail on the other. There was no way we weren’t going to stop and soak.
But, we were also tired and Steamboat is definitely not a place to hurry out of.
We started our day at CreekSide for breakfast. Becky and Dan understand bike touring. Then know that towns are for eating, sleeping, and recovering, so they sent us to the cafe with the biggest portions in town. We almost made it in time to get the local’s special, but we couldn’t quite get out of bed in time.
Next stop was Orange Peel bikes. We arrived at the same time as a tandem touring the GDMBR, and a father and two sons from Ireland who were touring from Steamboat to Santa Fe via the GDMBR to Abiquiu and then over. We watched them unpack a huge box of brand new Revelate Gear. Seatbags, handlebar rolls, frame bags, the works. I’d be curious to hear how their trip went, they weren’t lacking in enthusiasm.
To keep a running tally of things we’re replacing (Scott thinks I should keep a photo gallery of equipment that I wear out):
I got new gloves, new grips, a new camelback nozzle, a new pair of socks (apparently when you hike a lot, the heels get worn out quick), and a new rear derailleur cable, as mine had frayed, again.
Scott got new grips, and had me sew a new hole in his gloves.
Back at the house, we installed all of our new goodies and then proceeded to hang out with Becky and Dan for the rest of the afternoon, through lunch and dinner, waiting for the temperature to drop (it was roasting out).
It finally cooled off enough to pedal and we pointed our bikes towards the hot springs. 10 miles later and a boat load of climbing, we found ourselves at the entrance. We’d been riding in the dark for the last half hour. Timing was…a bit off, but we weren’t fussed. Really, how scary could a clothing optional hot springs be?
The soaking was divine. Hot pools, cold pools, a million and a half stars in the sky. Not a light to be seen anywhere. I’m pretty sure we were one of the last ones out, drying off quickly, filling up on water, and continuing on our trip, out the back entrance of the springs.
Becky had told me that the trail started in a narrow valley but that things eventually opened up. Two miles of fairly blissful, smooth, slightly downhill trail later, we finally found a flat spot big enough for two bodies. We were sold.
Camp went up quick and we were out within minutes. Still warm from the hot springs, we slept quickly and deeply.