Private Soak at the Infinity Pool

by Cailey McDermott There are roughly 28 public hot springs in Colorado. Mount Princeton in Nathrop touts five different soaking styles — the newest is the infinity pool.  In addition to the public soaking, the infinity pool is open to private soaking experiences. You can reserve the entire pool for a romantic date, for a …

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Of Boomtimes Past: The Road to Wellsville

By Ron Sering

Not much goes on these days in sparsely populated Wellsville, a few miles east of Salida, off U.S. Hwy 50. Home now to a couple of modest mining and milling operations and several private residences, the booms that had periodically rippled through the state have passed it by for many years. But that was not always the case.

There is some evidence that Native Americans once spent winters in the area, but Wellsville, the town, was founded in the late 1800s by namesake George Wells. Drawn by the area’s mineral wealth, miners worked the dry hills and canyons for gold, silver, copper, and quick lime, but most prominently for travertine, a sedimentary rock commonly formed from the action of hot springs. Prized as a building material since Roman times, travertine from Wellsville quarries was used in numerous public building projects, including the state Capitol in Denver and the Department of Commerce building in Washington D.C.

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A Joyful Journey from Hot Springs City

By Mike Rosso

Isolation is often the first impression when arriving at Joyful Journey Hot Springs.
The resort, located south of Villa Grove in the northern San Luis Valley, consists of a modern hotel, health spa, geodesic greenhouse, hot soaking pools, yurts and teepees. It resides amidst vast fields of rabbitbrush and sage. To the west lie the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a vast beacon in this high mountain valley, the largest and highest in North America.
What is not apparent is the unique history of this seeming oasis: that it was once platted to become a vibrant city and health resort; that the railroad passed through for many years. The largest population at one time consisted of swine; and that for a short while, it was a place to maintain a hippie lifestyle among the crumbling structures, soaking naked in the remains of the baths, away from most of the comforts – and problems – of modern society.
In part one of the story of Hot Springs City, an earlier developer of the resort, Robert Dunshee, passed away, not having realized his dreams of a thriving resort community. The rail stopped running in the early 1950s and the resort sat, alone and mostly abandoned. The post office remained until 1946 and at some point, the resort was purchased by Elmer Walker.
Little information can be found about Elmer Walker and the resort he ran up until the late 1950s. Virginia Sutherland, former director of the Saguache museum, remembers swimming at the pool as a child. Another longtime Villa Grove resident, Mary Moore, remembers she used to “mess around as a kid” at the pool, but not much else.

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Soaking by the Dunes

By Maddie Mansheim

What was once an abandoned pool utilized to raise catfish has grown into a family-oriented swimming area that draws tens of thousands of visitors every year. The Sand Dunes Swimming Pool and RV Park, near Hooper, has revitalized itself into a place frequently visited by both locals and tourists alike. It offers an array of activities that appeal to all ages and provide fun as well as therapeutic treatment.

Originally built in the 1930s, the pool served as a public swimming spot. The hot water was discovered by drillers who were exploring for oil. With that discovery, a mile deep artesian well was drilled; one of the deepest in Colorado. Early visitors swam in a dirt-covered board pool. From that point basic renovations were made, including two cement floors and a small dressing room building.

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Chaffee County Geothermal Offers Promise, Raises Concerns

Graphic courtesy of Mt. Princeton Geothermal LLC

by Ron Sering

With the BLM’s announcement of a lease auction of nearly 800 acres in the vicinity of Mt. Princeton hot springs, the area could be the site of the state’s first geothermal power plant. Not everyone is happy about it.

Geothermal energy uses heat generated by volcanic activity beneath the earth. Applications include direct use, such as collecting hot water in a pool, or heating buildings such as homes or greehhouses, or, in a unique local case, for aquaculture to raise fish and reptiles. Colorado Gators in Mosca started as an aquaculture facility, later adding alligators which have generated tourism.

Geothermal generation of electricity began in the Lardarello region of Italy, where a power plant has been in steady use since 1913. The plant generates approximately 4.8 billion kilowatt hours per year and serves more than a million homes. The facility creates steam by pumping cold water onto hot rocks below the surface, which in turn drives turbines to generate electricity.

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