When I was younger, I really wanted to have a pool party for my birthday. Inflatable pool toys, water guns, sunshine, pizza and cupcakes… absolute perfection.
Unfortunately, when you’re born in February, that’s not really an option (at least not in most of the northern hemisphere.)
That’s not to say I haven’t had some pretty incredible birthday celebrations (with not one, but TWO being llama-themed). Still, I’ve longed for my pool party.
Ironically, it was this year, high up in the rocky mountains, that I finally got my wish…sort of.
A Three-Day Mountain Weekend
Spending my birthday in the mountains was an easy call. Even in the winter, there is so much to do!
My boyfriend, Mike, and I went up to the cabin on Thursday night to get a head start on the weekend. It’s always nice to wake up in the mountains, especially in the winter. You can enjoy a cup of coffee in the early morning and watch the sun rise over the frozen lake. The only downside is when you arrive after a snow storm and there are two feet of snow covering your driveway. Then you have to spend an hour shoveling a parking space before you can actually get into the cabin. Pros and cons, I suppose.
On Friday, we went skiing at Winter Park. It was actually my first time skiing in Colorado and it was AMAZING! I grew up skiing back east and now I understand what people have been saying for all these years… the snow out west really is better.
Later that night, our friends arrived to join us for the rest of the weekend celebrations. The next morning, we enjoyed some birthday waffles and then headed up to Steamboat Springs!
Strawberry Hot Springs
Just outside of Steamboat Springs is a private hot spring buried deep in the woods. It’s called Strawberry Hot Springs and it’s one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. It’s secluded, beautiful and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, especially in the dead of winter.
When you arrive, it’s just a parking lot with a driveway that takes you down to the pools. There are bathroom facilities, a place to rent towels, and a warming hut where you can change into your bathing suit.
It’s a little bizarre. As you walk toward the pools, you see people getting in and out of the water, walking around, and they seem perfectly comfortable. Meanwhile, you’re fully clothed and shivering. HOW?
Then you get in the water and it feels like a hot tub. You can switch pools to find the temperature that’s most comfortable and just relax with a drink. The pools are steamy and you hardly notice how cold it is outside. In fact, at one point, I was so hot, I had to get out and cool off!
No wonder this place is open all year long.
We stayed for about two hours, enjoying the warm, relaxing pools. We joked and laughed, and I finally fulfilled my dream — it was the pool party I always wanted.
Thinking of visiting? Make sure you bring some drinks (plastic or cans only!), a towel and maybe even fluffy robe, just to complete the experience. Totally worth a four-hour drive from Denver.