Jephir Treks America: Bumbling Through Central America

A 6 week adventure in gastronomica, sights, and observation.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

First Day Out of the Boulder-Denver Closet...

Talk about a first day! Denver was our waking point, with a goodbye session consuming most of the morning. Chicken Barrons are hard to leave, even when adventure lies ahead.
Our first stop was in Colorado Springs at a lovely institution known to the world as Focus on the Family. Greeted at the door by a man with shining eyes found only amongst fanatics, true believers and car salesmen, we signed in and took a stroll around the place. Wandering through the cheerful halls on sees only occasional and subtle references to the almighty. Take the following picture.
Strange, eh? How many frogs have you met that were concerned with absolutes? In fact, it would seem that frogs were diamettrically opposed to absolutes (kind of;) due to their rather wishy washy, amphibian character. Lord knows they flipflop from water to land and back again. But maybe that's what was intended. Ribbit acts as a metaphor for man's condition with dry land representing the hereafter and water our day to day existence. Or perhaps I've been reading too much Tom Robbins as of late...

Of course, everything changes once you get to the bookstore - the otherwise friendly veneer of childrens games and parenting advice gives way to the impressive intolerance of this organization. Here is a collage containing some examples of interesting books to be found in the store.
I can understand the striving for absolutes, but it isn't fathomable to me that a religion which claims to teach compassion can feel the need for such vitrol. But enough hatred for one day...

Our next stop was in canon city, home of the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office. Friendly and moderately helpful, the staff only had National Park Passes for 2002. They suggested we visit Royal Gorge and told us about Valley View Hot Springs.

Royal Gorge is a Royal tourist trap, so I wouldn't recommend it to anybody, but Valley View is what every hot spring should aspire to be. Cheap ($16/person, a $15 surcharge for a private cabin), beautiful (views up to 120 miles), natural (unchlorinated pools, many maintained without concrete) and clothing optional (enough said). We rolled in around 8:30, paid our money, grabbed one of the queen sized bunkbeds (brilliant idea) and wandered through the pitch darkeness in search of one of the hot springs. We ended up alone in a pool overlooking the valley. At 87 degrees it was nice, but not hot enough, although the bubbles were wonderful. We hurried back down the mountain after a bit and rotated from the hot tub to the 85 degree pool to the sauna (which had a pool inside - another brilliant idea). Interesting, friendly people abounded, and words cannot describe the incredible set up. A bit of miso soup and we called it a night.

Here are a few pics (links due to problems with picture sizes)

About as natural as you can get - even mossy rocks!

View from the back porch of our lodge (included in price).


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