Tucked away deep in the Rocky Mountains, down an 8 mile dirt road past rivers ripe with trout and stables full of horses and their cowboys, lies an abandoned mining town just south of Telluride. There are certain places that I've traveled to where I've felt an instant connection to the energy of the land and this quaint ghost town sent chills down my spine from the second I came around the bend and saw it nestled in the valley. Transformed from 1800's ghost town to luxury spa resort, each building at Dunton Hot Springs has been historically renovated to retain the character of the original time of the wild west. It was a perfect sight to see after driving for hours, hitting a mule deer, totaling our car, landing in the hospital and nursing a swollen face and black eye. Perhaps horseback would have been a better option of transportation! I arrived there a little beat up but so ready to take in the healing mineral springs on the property and refused to let a little detour dull my quest for a new mountain adventure.
Luckily, Dunton is the perfect place to recuperate. Mineral hot springs known for their therapeutic healing powers and a few feet of early season snow opened up a whole list of activities to connect with nature and explore the best that the mountains have to offer. We were obsessed with our last adventure hiking in the Northern Rockies in October so we were eager to snap on some snow shoes and trek through the aspens and just explore and breathe the fresh air. The resort keeps everything on-hand, ready to grab & go with trails freshly packed for our enjoyment. We caught the late afternoon winter sun and saw the alpine glow reflect against the snow-capped peaks as we finished up the loop of the trail back the property.
I had the opportunity this fall to be one of the first to order the new Eddie Bauer custom MicroTherm jacket that allows you, for the first time, to actually design & customize the whole jacket yourself. It's the easiest and most functional thing to pack since it literally takes up mere ounces of space in luggage but also keeps me really, really warm out in the snow. I picked every single detail myself online from the zipper pull to inside lining and the whole blue, red and neon green color scheme. I wanted to evoke a feeling of a modern alpine adventurer, taking inspiration from alpine blues and reds and mixing them with wintery fair isle prints.
We had a few hours before the bell rang for dinner, everyone eats together here at one large communal table, so we decided to spend the remaining time in the bath house. The bath house is one of the most magical places I've ever seen. From the minute I walked inside, a cloud of thick, humid air hit my skin and instantly I felt warm again. A few logs on the fire warmed the room up even more as we dipped into the heated mineral springs. A giant wall of glass faces directly out to the peaks in the distance and it was as if every piece of tension from the car accident immediately left my body. I grabbed my neoprene swimsuit and kept my Microtherm with me to keep warm between the indoor and outdoor pools. It really is an extraordinary feeling to bathe in something that has existed in the earth and has healed people for centuries.
I've really started to fall in love with the great outdoors and being someone who always looked to go abroad on vacation, I've started to look back into the heart of the United States to see the beauty in our own backyard. It's places like this and adventures like these that make me realize that simplicity and nature are luxuries. There's something so pure about it. It's free from chaos and traffic and pushing through people to see glimpses of monuments in large buildings. Nothing has to be overthought. It's how people have lived for thousands of years and trekking through the snow just feels so familiar, like I'm back home where I should be, doing the things my body yearns to do. I encourage you, especially around the holiday season, to make sure to take time to do things like this. Slow down, enjoy, get outside, explore, be creative...to adventure is to live! Enjoy this holiday weekend and please be careful if you're out traveling!