From Colorado Springs Aya and I camped two nights at Valley View Hot Springs near the Great Sand Dunes NP. About 2.5-3 hr drive in the middle of nowhere. It was my first time camping at a hot springs. It was also my first time going nude. It was such a beautiful natural setting with nice people and not crowded on the weekend at this time. Aya has been to many hot springs around the world and said this was the best one in terms of setting and set up. In the summer there are bat tours as bats come from New Mexico and you can watch them come in and out at night as they hunt for insects. I guess I will have to come back :)
The pools were not so hot, but were so natural w/ soil and trees right against the pools; surround by rocks and deer mules. We can see the valley and mts from the top pools. The sauna was also excellent; it had a cool small pool in it, which was refreshing while heating up in a 160deg room.
The next day we drove an hour south to the dunes. We hiked 1.5 miles to one of the top dunes, which took 1.5 hrs up and 30 min down. I went bare foot as my new hiking boots started hurting me (was wearing thin socks and need to break those boots in). It was so windy during the whole hike and even more so when we summited the dune. We were so tired from the windy, sunny hike, good thing we decided to camp another night at the hot springs rather than the original plan of camping at the dunes.
We also had the full moon closest to the earth in 19 yrs, we were told. After soaking, we sat in the jeep and snacked while staring up at the moon. The best drive in movie for sure! Even the hot springs area was windy. So far I am finding CO awesome but windy and dry.
Sunday afternoon we stopped by Buena Vista on the way back to CO Springs and met the guys for a quick run around the Garden of the Gods, which is an excellent place for rock climbers. Click here for photos.