The San Luis Valley. Land of the potato farm. Best known for The Great Sand Dunes National Park that sits just outside of Alamosa. One of the last places I still consider “real Colorado.” Not overrun by the masses that flocked here when the “green rush” started with the legalization of weed. Ever seen the “cheap Colorado land” advertisements in the back of the magazines? This is it. 5000.00 will get you 5 acres of sagebrush for 123.00 a month with no down payment! What a deal! What they don’t tell you is the closest grocery store is 50 miles away!
Barren and windswept and so forlornly beautiful in it’s no trees and abundance of sagebrush kind of way. I consider it the last hippie bastion left in the state. The last of the “real” hippies….. not some dreadlocked 23 year old in a tie dye begging for change on the street corner (an all to common sight here now, and I hate it!) Peace and love, with a lot of firearms and a “live and let live” attitude. Ranchers, farmers, hippies, outcasts, separatists and survivalists somehow seem to peacefully co-exist here and you can feel and see the “don’t f*** with me and I won’t f*** with you” as you journey through the valley.
I have driven through here literally hundreds of times over the 28 years I’ve lived in Colorado, but this weekend I had the opportunity to stop and visit a magical place set on the western slope of the Sangre De Cristo Mountain range. Valley View Hot Springs within the Orient Land Trust just outside of Villa Grove……
The Orient Land Trust sits on 2200 acres and the entire trust is “naturist.” That means clothing is optional. It’s not sexual in any way…… NO ORGY’S HERE! Just a lot of free thinking people who choose if they wear clothes or not, which I thought was pretty cool and I thought I saw at least 4 or 5 naked Jesus’ while cruising around the property, and unlike Rico Hot Springs (which I wrote about in another post) I DID catch the whiff of patchouli several times……Photographing ANYONE on the property is STRONGLY discouraged and I must say that I agree with that! I wouldn’t want anyone taking pictures of my 50 year old naked ass either!
The hot springs are natural and serene, although it was pretty crowded the day I was there. Even though they only allow a set number of people entry each day I have a suspicion it was at capacity. Valley View has around 8 natural and man made pools spread throughout the property. There are several cabins, a bunkhouse, bath house (co-ed, free thinking remember?) RV spots and tent sites spread throughout, along with a couple of communal kitchens and a pavilion where they have nightly fires and astrology viewing with telescopes! There’s even a 420 friendly hut on the property…….Very befitting of Colorado!
I met someone I “used to know” there for the weekend, an incredible “Indian summer” day for early November! Sunny and warm. I’ve been trying to win her back after a many year absence and a divorce or two in both of our pasts! It was super affordable. 60.00 a night got an RV spot for Annie with electricity and entrance for two into the springs! Smokin’ deal for a weekend with a hot girl! Even better when it’s encouraged for her to take her clothes off!
We met there around noon on Saturday, got the low down from the people at the front office and headed to our RV spot for the night. After we got situated and Annie (my Tiger Adventure Vehicle) plugged in and set up we hiked about a half mile up a STEEP trail to the highest pools. It was an ass kicker of a hike but what a view! The pools were between 95 to 98 degrees. Not that hot but still nice!
Later we hiked down to the “Waterfall” pool and hung out there for a while. The views, solitude, company and nature there were truly what I needed……
We soaked for a while and watched a beautiful sunset over the valley……….Later that evening we went and sat in the “Apple Tree” pools which were the hottest on the property. Between 104 and 106 degrees. The pools have added heat in addition to the springs from the geothermal properties in the earth there. I didn’t get any photos because there were other “naturists” lurking in the darkness!
After a restful nights sleep in Annie we awoke early, made awesome coffee and ventured down to the “Meadow” pond to get our soak on. It was 7 AM and the mule deer were EVERYWHERE! They had no qualms hanging out with a naked recovering hippie and his old flame!
If you’re ever in the area, and OK with a little “nature” I strongly recommend you come check this place out! Be open minded, be present, and be free thinking for a few hours.