Natural Hot Springs

Colorado USA: (RTCO03)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/co_sangrecristo_hotsprings.aspx

Introduction
Colorado USA
Crossing the backbone of the continent on seldom traveled trails through the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, we descend into the broad San Luis Valley to camp two relaxing nights at the historic Valley View Hot Springs. The trails are steep and challenging; the camps are remote and scenic. We may see any variety of wildlife, including hawks, eagles, elk, deer, and bear. Participants must have some familiarity with horses, and be in good health and physical condition. This is mainly a journey for experienced riders, though a confident beginner with some experience can enjoy the trip just fine.

The horses are sure-footed, no- nonsense and willing. We'll assign you your own horse and teach you how to saddle, picket and care for it. Mountain riding techniques are taught as we travel. We'll share our extensive knowledge of geology, plants, wildlife, and history of the area, as well as teach you minimal impact camping skills. Tasty camp meals are served around the campfire beneath a weatherproof kitchen canopy.

At the hot springs, we'll have camp tables, chairs, a wood-fired sauna, and a heated bathhouse. There are numerous hot soaking pools in a natural setting of wildflowers, birds and wandering deer. These are not well-visited pools and have been only minimally 'improved' from their natural state. Be prepared: like most western hot springs, many soak without clothes. Bathing suits are optional, to wear or not is your choice!

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a pack trip, where most nights are spent camping. The first night is spent at a hotel and the remaining 4 nights are spent camping.

Radisson Inn Colorado Springs Airport
This hotel provides a free transfer service to the airport as well as free Wi-Fi and a hot breakfast buffet.
The rooms are modern and include a flat-screen TV, microwave, min-fridge and a private bathroom. You can also relax in the hot tub, sun terrace or indoor pool.

Camping
Guests stay in two- to four-person wall tents with comfortable foam beds. At the hot springs, we will have camp tables, chairs, a wood-fired sauna, and a heated bathhouse. The group will work as a team. Everyone participates in the care and saddling of their horses and the setting up and breaking down of personal tents. The staff cooks, cleans and pack the horses.

We can supply saddlebags, sleeping bags, ground mats, and duffel on request for additional fee.

Room Occupancy
Single tents can be requested at no extra fee but a single supplement applies for the first night at a Colorado Springs hotel.


Meals
All meals are included (from breakfast on day 2 to lunch on last day) except in Colorado Springs. Meals on the first day are not included but we offer 20% off for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant in Colorado Springs.

Dietary Restrictions
We have experience with and are happy to accommodate special dietary needs such as Kosher, vegetarian, and lactose-free. Just let us know when you make your reservations of your special needs.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Horses
The ranch owns 60 head of Appaloosa and Paint horses. The horses are sure-footed, no nonsense and willing. We will assign you your own horse and teach you how to saddle, picket and care for it.

Riding Experience
Our trip begin with hands-on instruction on saddling and care of your mount. At the same time, our program allows for diversity to accommodate and challenge the advanced rider as well. Our philosophy is simple; the more you know about your horse and equipment, the more you will enjoy your vacation.

Itinerary
Sample Itinerary - Subject to change

Day 1: 
Arrival in Colorado Springs and transfer (shuttle) to the Radisson Hotel near the airport. Meals are not included, but the hotel offers a 20% discount for our guests on all meals.

Day 2: 
Early morning full hot breakfast at the hotel (starting at 6 AM). At 7:30 AM our transfer will pick you up from the hotel lobby. We drive two hours to a trailhead on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. As the pack string is carefully loaded with duffels and supplies, one of two colorful wrangler/guides picked for the adventure (our staff fight to go on this one) gives detailed instructions on riding, saddling and caring for your mount. Setting out around midday, we wind up through aspen groves, Gambel oak and lodgepole pine, up and into a long glaciated valley. The trail is almost lost as we work around downfall Engelmann spruce, fording the tumbling stream that gurgles down toward the Arkansas river and eventually the Mississippi. We stop to rebuild a section of trail that has slid away from a section of muddy down-sloping rock. A dark tassel-eared squirrel chatters indignantly as we pass. Higher up, a cow elk with ungainly calf in tow ambles across a meadow lush with purple larkspur and yellow composites. We set camp below a gigantic rock glacier just at timberline. The horses are picketed out. The tents are up in carefully selected flat areas well away from each other, and the small campfire is glowing cheerfully as we sip happy hour spirits while awaiting dinner.

Day 3:
The aroma of brewing coffee and the fluttering of Steller's jays signals the start of the day. After a leisurely breakfast, the packhorses are carefully packed with balanced loads. Staff competes to tie the best load. If perfectly packed, the load should not have to be touched until we unpack at the end of the day. Not much is worse than a load sliding off on the steep pass, creating a scene from a Charlie Russell painting! Leaving the last twisted spruce and bristlecone pine behind, our train winds up and over a wind sweep 12,500’’' pass. Awestruck, we silently stare at the immense vast grandeur of the San Luis Valley stretching beyond vision to the hills of Taos far to the south. Then, down, down winding switchbacks to lunch in an alpine meadow. A small herd of elk scramble indignantly down into the dense timber below. Leaving the forest behind, we ride out on a vast open prairie framed by towering peaks. We wait for the burst of orchestral music that Hollywood would surely furnish, but only the quiet whisper of the afternoon wind disturbs the solitude. Evening finds us soaking peacefully in a warm pool, favorite beverage in hand, as the orange-red globe of the Sun settles behind the western mountains.

Day 4:
We camp among the aspen along a warm water stream, minutes from the pools. Valley View is a private, minimally developed resort with limited public access. (Of course, we are members.) The Springs were considered sacred by the Mountain Ute who came to revitalize and give thanks after a successful buffalo hunt. Although quiet during the week, we share the resort with other members coming to soak in this magical spot. The day is set aside to soak, take saunas, to relax. Numerous natural pools offer a choice of soaking with others or finding a private small pool. You may decide to hike or explore the old Orient Iron mine nearby, returning intime for another sunset soak.

Day 5:
Breakfast, a last early morning dip, then back in the saddle again. Relaxed and stress-free we ride quietly up into the silent pine forest to make a late afternoon camp at the base of the great pass. Around the evening camp fire, our wranglers share tales of the days when The Ute hunted these high valleys or when John Fremont's ill-fated expedition wintered here. A horse whinnies in the darkness, an owl hoots out a reply, the camp Winchester rests nearby as we drift off in restful sleep.

Day 6:
Up early, we help break camp, catch the horses, pack loads.Now a seasoned, trained outfit, we are soon moving across the meadow and up the pass. Thunderclouds threaten, so we hasten along, stopping only to check chinches and loads. Dropping easterly over the crest, we stay well above timberline to find the beginning of an old cow trail leading down past a series of blue green glacial lakes. Finding a better trail below, we hurry into the valley as the high ridges erupt in claps of rolling thunder and electric display. We are, too soon, back at the road and waiting transport to urban reality.

--Due to factors beyond our control, we occasionally find it necessary to change the order or the route of these activities.--

POST TRIP INFORMATION

At the end of your trip you will be brought back to Colorado Springs sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 pm. We recommend making prior lodging reservations if you plan to spend the night. If you must fly out that evening, please do not schedule a flight before 8:30 pm, to make certain you can make your flight.


Rates and Dates for Natural Hot Springs

Rates include:

Tent accommodations with first night in Colorado Springs hotel, all meals from day 2 to lunch on day 6, 4 riding days, saddle bags

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    20196 day trip, AP, first night in hotel$1945

Tax 1: 3 % * prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
Tax: 3 %  

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Transfer to/from Colorado Springs Airport is included by hotel $0
2019 Single supplement for the first night at hotel $100
2019 Extra night at hotel, per room incl. tax
This is a "Group Rate"
$200
2019 Sleeping bag and mat rental -- please inquire
- to be paid locally
$0
2019 Small group supplement (3 pax only) PP $335

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 08/18 - 08/23 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP, first night ... 4 /8 Expired
A 2019 08/25 - 08/30 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP, first night ... 4 /8 Expired
A 2019 09/01 - 09/06 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP, first night ... 4 /8 Expired
A 2019 09/08 - 09/13 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP, first night ... 4 /8 Expired
A 2019 09/15 - 09/20 6d / 5n 6 day trip, AP, first night ... 4 /8 Expired

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Meals on first day (20% off for dinner at the hotel restaurant). Able to supply sleeping bags, ground mats, and duffel on request for additional fee ($35US per item). Please inquire.

Other Info
Meeting: Colorado Springs
Airport: Colorado Springs
Transfer: Colorado Springs hotel 7:30 am on Day 2.

Climate:
                                            Westcliffe area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

40

42

49

56

66

77

81

78

72

61

49

40

Average Low Temperature (°F)

7

11

19

26

34

41

45

44

37

26

16

8

Average High Temperature (°C)

4

6

9

13

19

25

27

26

22

16

9

4

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-14

-12

-7

-3

1

5

7

7

3

-3

-9

-13

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

2

2

5

4

5

4

8

8

4

3

2

2

Source: NOAA


Seasons
The weather is quite unpredictable; it can snow even in August, so be prepared for anything! Use the layer system of clothing, where items can be added or taken off with changes in temperature. On May, June or September trips snow and hail are common. The most important thing to bring is your cheerful acceptance of whatever surprises the wilderness may hold in store!

Colorado has 4 distinct seasons. Autumn brings unpredictable snowstorms, generally beginning in September, before relatively mild winters create a heaven for outdoor enthusiast. March is often the snowiest month, though the weather is notoriously undependable.

Summertime sees the temperature increasing, but it never gets too hot. It is usually dry at that time of the year; however, thunderstorms can happen anytime.

What To Bring:
Riding helmets are mandatory for riders 16 year and under. Riders over 16 yrs can sign a Waiver locally if they prefer not wear a helmet (always recommended). The ranch does have helmets available, but we recommend to bring your own for best fit. Saddle bags are available to borrow for the trip.

Clothing:
Pants
2 pr. long
2 pr. shorts

Shirts
1 heavy long sleeve (cotton is cold when wet)
1 lightweight long sleeve
1 short sleeve
2 T-shirts or tank tops
Underwear
Long underwear bottoms or biker shorts (to combat saddle sores)

Footwear

Tennis shoes or something similar for around camp
Socks -- 4 or 5 pairs of heavy cotton or wool

Outerwear
Bandana
Sweater (wool or synthetic)
Warm parka or jacket
Windproof outer jacket (optional)
Two piece rain suit (slicker with rain pants) NO PONCHOS PLEASE (essential!)
Gloves (for warmth)
Hat with brim (for sun, hail, and snow protection (must have some form of stampede string if worm while riding)
Wool hat (for warmth)

Other Items

Duffel bag or sea bag (to pack items onto packhorses -- (must be soft-sided))
Day pack or saddle bags (to carry things during the day- we have some to borrow, but please ask ahead of time)
Warm sleeping bag (good at least to 30° F.) (We can rent bags for you if told in advance.)
Foam pad or air mattress (such as a CampRest or ThermoRest)
Sunglasses (all glasses must have string/elastic strap)
Pocket knife
Flashlight
Canteen or plastic water bottle

Toiletries

Towel & washcloth
Biodegradable soap
Tooth brush and paste
Sun screen
Lip balm
Mirror
Comb
Hand lotion
Shaving kit
Personal medication
Insect repellent

Optional

Candy, gum or tobacco items
Camera and extra film (you may wish to include a disposable waterproof camera for rainy days)
Note pad, guides & field glasses
Liquor / Alcohol (placed in unbreakable containers)
Cash for incidentals, tips, etc.
Fishing gear (collapsible rod is best)

PACKING
Pack your gear into your duffel bag and day pack. The maximum weight allowable for your duffel bag is 40 pounds (for the sake of the pack horses.
Your duffel bag will not be available during the day. Your day pack or saddlebags should hold rain gear, water bottle, gloves and other items you will want during the day.
Your guide will show you how to best strap it to your saddle. Line the duffel and day bag with a garbage bag or zip lock.
The weather is unpredictable; it can snow even in August, so be prepared for anything. Use the layer system of clothing, where items can be added or taken off with changes in temperature.
On May, June or September trips snow and hail are common. The most important thing to bring is your cheerful acceptance of whatever surprises the wilderness may hold in store! 

We are able to sleeping bags, ground mats, and duffel on request for additional fee ($35US per item). Please inquire.