The 65 miles from Durango to Pagosa Springs must be one of the most scenic routes in the country. Around each corner the foliage, topography, and wildlife unfolded with such Hallmarkian precision that I chuckled over and over thinking someone was putting me on. It reminded me of late mornings on my couch in college watching Bob Ross architect his fantastical nature paintings with his hushed voice pointing out his little friends among the trees and squirrels. Here I was riding right through his world.
Another rolling recovery day, it was the perfect opportunity to relax, look up, and enjoy how lucky I am to be out here.
Ultimately, we arrived in the town of Pagosa Springs, CO, famous for its natural hot springs. As I racked my bike for the night, I went down to check out these hot tubs fed directly from the earth for myself. There were at least a dozen all with entertainingly diverse names and each bearing its own temperature readout. They ranged from 92 degrees on the refreshing side up to "The Lobster Pot" at a flesh-searing 111 degrees. The kid in me couldn't resist plunging repeatedly in The Lobster Pot and then the adjacent mountain river in all 56 degrees of its bracing splendor and then back to the pot again. It was during that idiotic rite of passage that I looked around and noticed that no one at a health springs spa ever looks very healthy.
Thus, I packed it in early and took my sulfurous skin to bed to be ready for the undoubtedly burliest stage of the trip. Tomorrow's ride to Taos, NM.