Visiting Colorado’s hot springs resorts has always been a source of fun between my family and friends. It’s a place to play, a place to celebrate, and a place to mingle; but for centuries, people have flocked to natural hot springs for something more than just a fancy vacation activity — to bathe in its healing waters. I wanted to test this ancient ritual by ditching the wellness resorts and destination spas and trading it in for something just off the beaten path.
Greeted by the desert sun, I sleepily approached Kremmling’s Radium Hot Springs via a winding dirt trail. Even through my foggy morning mind, I took notice of the stress I was harboring within me. My muscles ached from a long night’s battle with my body to rest, and my legs were growing fatigued with every added step. I craved a quiet experience where I could replenish, re-energize and reconnect.
The pool is a clear, shallow pot that sits adjacent to the headwaters of the Colorado River and can be accessed by climbing down the blocky cliffside, or if you’re an adventure-seeker, taking the 50-foot plunge.
The high country air was cool, and I was eager to immerse my skin in the warmth. Like a swimming pool on a summer day, I was tempted with the instant relief a swift dunk would have provided. But unlike my neighborhood watering hole, I was met with steam rising from a still surface, and the trickling sound of the stream behind me. A slow, peaceful entry seemed more fitting.
The rewards of this practice were instant. It’s been shown that when mineral water heats up your body temperature, it can help kill harmful germs and viruses, eliminate toxins, increase blood flow and circulation, and open pores to absorb essential minerals. I knew there is power in being surrounded by nature, but to actually soak it all in was truly enriching and cleansing.
More than just sensations, the hot springs provided a space for both mental and emotional restoration. Nestled into the grainy sand, I sat with my eyes closed and awareness full. Bubbles tickled my spine and waves of heat calm me into a deep meditative state. From temple to toes, I allowed myself to let go of any tension and let it dissipate like ripples in the water. I left feeling transformed.
With so many forces of nature working together — earth, metal, water, wood and fire — it’s obvious that the health benefits seep much deeper than just physical relaxation. But with my fingers wrinkled and my hair messy, perhaps that inner revival really wasn’t so invisible.
Published in Boulder Lifestyle, October 2017