By Cara Guerrieri
As a young girl with romantic leanings, the legend of Waunita Hot Springs fascinated me. It is said that the tears shed by the beautiful Waunita, a woman of the Ute tribe, created the hot springs. She had fallen in love with a Shoshone warrior, who was then killed in battle. In her grief and sorrow, Waunita wandered the valley and was so heartbroken that she died within days and was buried in a nearby cave. Her love was so strong, however, that where her tears fell, the earth weeps. In the remote valley twenty-seven miles from Gunnison, Colorado, millions of gallons of water per day flow at up to 174°. The legend of Waunita is written on a plaque near the springs and as a youth, I remember reading it and trying to imagine a love that powerful.