Rico. On the way to Telluride. Right up the road from Stoner, ( I love the name Stoner for a town in Colorado! How appropriate!) on Lizard Head pass.
Set in a tight valley along the Dolores River high in the San Juan Mountains is this little known natural hot springs. As you have probably noticed I visit a lot of hot springs all over Colorado and the southwest. Some free, some not so free. I guess I’m kind of a hot spring junkie. There are two different pools here about 150 yards apart, but you gotta know where they are or you’ll never find them. And I ain’t telling! LOL!
There’s nothing better than sitting in scalding hot water admiring the beautiful country I am lucky to call home, but after 28 years here in Colorado I dread the winters now! AND WINTER IS COMING QUICK!
I’ve visited this place maybe a half a dozen times over the years. Although it sits on private property with NO TRESPASSING signs posted all over I still manage to sneak in for a few hours here and there. The hot springs are on a mining claim and now that the price of gold is high again the mine is up and running. Hence the signs and the closure of this cool natural hot springs. Maybe if the price of gold drops they won’t be such a**holes about letting people soak….. But keep in mind that you enter at your own risk of getting busted and fined or maybe hauled off in handcuffs. It seems like every time I have police contact I get put in handcuffs anyways for “My safety and theirs” even if I’m not arrested. Once they run my name my past always come back to haunt me! Bells and sirens go off immediately! So I really don’t worry about it much. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been arrested, but at least now I choose my battles. Before it was usually drunken stupidity!
This past weekend I made the hour and a half trip to check out the fall colors and take a dip. Didn’t have much else going on so might as well enjoy a little Indian summer…….
I left out of Durango late on a Friday afternoon and stopped in the local bar in Rico (The Enterprise) for a burger (it was da bomb!) and a non alcoholic beer. St. Pauli Girl NA! ( I don’t drink anymore. Remember?) Then cruised on over to the parking area near the springs. There were two hippie short busses parked at the trail painted camouflage and OD green ( hippies rolling doobies by the river gotta hide you know!) but the hot springs were empty. Hippies gotta sleep too! They don’t just smoke pot and smell bad! I didn’t even catch the faintest whiff of patchouli oil when I rolled up, so I figured the coast was clear. No armpits with eyes anywhere to be seen…….It was just me, the stars and a bitchin’ full moon.
After soaking for an hour or so I was super relaxed so I went back and crawled in Annie to sleep. It was about 18 degrees outside so I piled on the blankets and crashed. Another month everything will be white and you won’t be able to get anywhere near this place unless you have snowshoes or skis. F*** , I hate snow!
The next morning I got up early, made an AWESOME cup of coffee, went and soaked for another hour then packed up to head off to Canyon of the Ancients to go check out some ruins. The hippies were still crashed in their vans by the river and I did not even catch the slightest scent of patchouli! All was good!