The three-hour drive from Boulder to Glenwood Springs is another scenic one, past some of Colorado’s top ski resorts, including Breckenridge and Vail. The autumn colours were reaching their peak and the golden yellow of the Aspen trees made the drive even more beautiful.
Our destination, Glenwood Springs, is not famous for its skiing, however, but for its hot springs. Established in 1888, the springs are the largest mineral hot springs in the world. At least three or maybe four times the size of an Olympic pool, the springs comprise two pools, heated to 90 degrees and to 104 degrees for those who can take the heat.
We checked into the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, just opposite, which has recently completed a $2 million renovation and will start a second phase later this month (October) ready for the Christmas season.
Lodge guests get free access to the hot springs, which open from 9am until 10pm. We picked up our tickets for the pools, but first we had been recommended to check out the nearby Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
Even getting to the park is an adventure. It’s 1,300 feet above Glenwood Springs on the top of Iron Mountain and the access is by cable car. On the way up, we admired the views, but with butterflies in our stomach as we read the park information and saw what was to come. Some of the rides here are not for the fainthearted. New this year is a 70-foot bungy jump and a roaring zip ride. The bungy was closed (thank goodness) but the zip ride was in operation. In the summer, the park is busy but on a Tuesday in September we pretty much had it to ourselves, so before we knew it we were being invited up to the top of the tower to take the 625 feet zip ride across the valley. Once we were in the air and I had stopped screaming, it felt incredible. We even had a second go.
Next was the Alpine Coaster, which winds down the mountainside with you at the controls. It was even better than the zip ride.
The 4D rides were lots of fun and Freddie loved the sandpit, complete with giant tractors. We had a quick go on the Mine Shaft Shootin Gallery, watched some kids on the bungee trampoline and (this is where it all went wrong), we then headed down to the Canyon Swing.
Now, if we had known before hand what we were about to experience, we would never have done it. If we had come in the summer months, presumably we would have waiting in line and would have seen exactly what was involved. Unfortunately there was no queue, the attendant was very laid back, and it wasn’t until we were belted in to the giant swing with no way out did he reveal that we would be swinging 1,300 feet high out across the valley, at zero Gs and reaching 240 degrees.
Oh my god. This time I was too terrified to even scream. I couldn’t breath, let alone make any noise. It’s all on video and all you can hear is my boyfriend laughing (he was the sensible one who volunteered to watch this one out) and my sister telling me to “just breath, just breath”. The ride was only a minute, but it felt like a lifetime. My legs were like jelly all the way back to the hotel and I only felt myself properly relax when I was fully immersed in the hottest of the hot springs. My brief visit to Glenwood Springs would definitely not be forgotten.
Monday, October 3, 2011