Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 107 - The healing powers of the hot springs

This morning, we planned to leave. We really, really did, but we had two major obstacles. 1) Hot. 2) Springs.

The hot springs were amazing, and a truly unique place on the trail, and in the U.S. We've decided to fully embrace the fact that we are passing through some once in a lifetime places, and ease up a bit. So, we decided to take a zero in Pagosa Springs. And it was incredible.

We went to the hot springs in the middle of town, which features 23 hot spring pools, with different temperatures created by blending San Juan river water (40-50 degrees) with hot water from the Mother Spring. The Mother Spring is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the deepest hot spring in the world. The actual depth is unknown, since the Guinness team brought only 1,200' of line, and could not plumb the bottom.

The Mother Spring is considered sacred to the nearby Native American tribes due to its healing powers. The land around the spring was considered neutral territory, even among warring tribes. It has since been appropriated by Westerners and developed into a swanky resort overlooking the San Juan river.

We spent the day soaking, going from tub to tub, and drinking lots of water. We experimented with 'contrast temperature therapy', which involved sitting in the hottest tub (The Lobster Pot at 112 degrees), and then jumping into the San Juan river (40-50 degrees). If this sounds terrible, it kind of was terrible. My skin burned and every surface nerve screamed. At a few touch and go moments in the river, I thought I might be too numb to pull myself out, but managed to pull it together. I realized how insane this looked when tourists on the far riverbank were taking photos and pointing at me every time I went in. But afterwards, I did feel like a million bucks.

I truly believe that we were healed by springs, since my legs and feet have not felt this good since before I started the hike. Gangles had a similar experience, including a miraculous improvement in her legs as well.

We had lunch at the local brewery, the Riff Raff, which features spruce and chili beers, and giant Jenga. We also walked around the charming and compact downtown.

A wonderful, restorative day off. And plan to come back to Pagosa some day.

Mileage: <1mi. Hot spring to hot spring.

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