15 update Monarch Mountain: More than skiing
(3rd in the string “Competing CO” @ end of ’14-15 ski season)
Realize that Elevation Bewery is a short side-step left off rte. 50 as we return to town. I had made a few friends when I pre-ran this trip back in December. I pressed all into the corporate center. Actually they loved it too. There fast a food truck parked beside the facility with picnic tables in a court=yard serving southwest wraps with a distinctly Mexican fare. The kids all loved it. Totally casual but fully delicious
Salida is the town associated with Monarch Mountain the ski area. Salida and the surrounding area offer many activities that attract the active traveler throughout the full year. Salida is a town for all four seasons.
Our family pilgrimage was technically our annual winter extravaganza, but the vernal equinox had arrived and passed. By date and by feel the spring of ’15, was indeed in the air of Colorado’s “banana belt”, Difficult as it is to comprehend, it’s been said there’s more to do in the mountains than ski. At least that’s what my family was now touting.
So upon their prompting, no nagging and whining, we ventured back north on Rte. 285. Just before Buena Vista by hanging a left and ascending the box canyon we discovered the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort – good find. The geothermic waters seep out of a gravel soil collecting into a small stream that emptied into the Arkansas River. The warm spring sun allowed us to comfortable don our swim suits and enjoy a gay at the beach!
Like so often throughout my life, I begrudgingly went along with a grump of a heart and a chip on my shoulder confident I would be bored to tears. Wrong! There are a couple of large, warm swimming pools just above the stream, and around them are a myriad of log cabins and structures providing comfortable rooms for the overnight guests and vacationers. However the real kick is the creek side where hot springs bubble into the flowing current. You plop your butt in the sand a la hot tub fashion, sip a select of local origin, to soak up the sun and the scenery. We packed sandwiches and other goodies to consume on a grassy picnic plateau overlooking a bend in the flow. We passed the whole afternoon leisurely lounging about the facilities. Cool. Or better described, “warm”.
Alternating between additional days of skiing, the “men” contracted Monarch Snow Tours with guide to whisk us all about the mine area closed for winter under a heavy blanket of natural snow. Our newly found friend recounted the local history and spun stories of interest as he led us from point to point. He’d untether us in the intermittent open fields goading us to romp and frolic about testing the limits of man and machine. (All under his skilled and mindful eye). I can’t say who had the most fun: grandfather, son or grandson each on our own ‘chene.
Upon returning, we popped some corks and traded more recollections of our colorful, personal life-stories. The owner that started as an employee of a ski instructor at Monarch who began this operation as a side business. Don had purchased the whole thing a few years past to supplement his river rafting company. I anticipate a return visit.
The females spent the morning shopping in Salida. The downtown business district is a compact collection of eclectic shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants and real estate offices. Our granddaughter has a creative flair and a vivid imagination. Rachel loved letting it all run as the women bounced door to door. So glad we went up while they delighted in gettin’ down.
On each evening we all strolled along the riverfront path and ambled among the city center street side retailers and eateries. No fast food here, only delicious owner operated facilities specializing in their own fares and delectable. So fun! So neat. Love it.
It all ended too soon. There’s still so much we didn’t have time for like : a river raft run, a zip line adventure and But I always say, leave the grandchildren “hungry” for more and they’ll run to return, even if they have to put up with us. It’s held true over the years. Too soon we grow old. Too late we grow smart. But at least there’s still time.
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