Friday, September 19
This was the view from Conundrum Hot Springs, near Aspen, Colorado, the highest in N. America at 11,200', on August 3. The mountain is Castlebra Peak and is 13,820'. You may not like reading white on black, but color photographs really look best on a black background, so just suffer!
I've been spending 1-2 months in the Conundrum area for 8 summers. This started in 2000, on a bus ride back to Boulder from my Croton-Harmon High School reunion north of NYC. Some bike messengers (heavily chained and tattooed) reminded me of the Kumba Mela in India coming up. It's the biggest spiritual festival in the world, with up to 90 million camping at the junction of 3 rivers.
First I fantasized that I'd prepare by working on my yoga in the Himnalayas for the winter. Then I realized I'd freeze and that the Mela is about the best place in the world to get sick. So I thought I'd strengthen myself by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. But why go there when the Colorado Trail starts right in Denver? Finally I realized that I could walk right out my Boulder door and hike local trails to the Continental Divide Trail, which joins the Colorado Trail in several places.
So, in 2001, I hiked 300 miles in 40 days from Boulder to Salida. I decided I'd had enough, and went to the Conundrum area (photos) for another month. I decided I preferred base camping, especially at hot springs, to backpacking. I also decided to spend as much of my life outdoors as practical.
Since then I've started guiding people to 2 pristine wilderness hot springs in Mexico's Copper Canyon -deeper, steeper, twistier and far wilder than the Grand Canyon.