Feb 252010

Something sad happened today! Just now, in fact. So, I know the blog has been filled with Yellowstoney stuff lately but I have one more for you. Today at the store I picked up this month’s Backpacker and found a short article in it about the possibility of webcams all over the backcountry in Yellowstone…ewwww! Didn’t I just finish saying how the backcountry of this awesome park was wild, untouched and you couldn’t be bothered? I thought so…but I guess I was just plain wrong! If webcams in the backcountry happen, there will truly be no escape anymore. Sure, they say, you shouldn’t care if you’re not breaking the rules or being unsafe, but that’s a lie! I still care that eyes are watching me when I don’t want them to be. And that I can’t ever be trusted.  And, oh yeah, that BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING ME! I don’t think it’s about rules. And I don’t think it’s about safety. It’s about a lack of trust and a sad lack of respect that people have for nature.

I say: Please leave me alone in the backcountry big brother! What do you guys think?

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Beat up by the Pacific

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Jan 102010

Having grown up in Colorado, it´s safe to say I´m not much of a surfer girl. But it´s fun to dream right? I am now in beautiful (understatement) Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, thouroughly enjoying the Pacific. Yesterday, we rented a surfboard to try our hand at this precarious water sport. Just like snowboarding, but on water right? Wrong. So wrong. I had surfed once before, in Hawaii, but we hadn´t really started off on ¨baby waves¨ there. Here, we did. Still, attempting to stand on water did not come easily. I got up on a few small waves and rode them up to the beach. That felt pretty cool, although I´m sure I didn´t look super cool…or anything close to.

If anything, paying ten dollars to rent a surfboard was paying ten dollars for good entertainment. My boyfriend and I got some good laughing in just watching each other. We were so uncoordinated, so determined, and so very bad at surfing! I am banged up today, as is inevitable when I am attempting any new sport or activity. My boyfriend, Alex, asked me yesterday if I was sore like muscle sore or sore like I got hit with a bag of oranges. A bag of oranges, definitely, I told him.

Waterfalls and big butterflies

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Jan 042010

We are officially on the beach! For the last couple of days, we have been hanging out in Montezuma, on the Nicoya Penninsula of Cost Rica. Think a concentrated version of Boulder. That’s Montezuma. Lots and lots of dreadlock hippies walking around selling their art and offering you weed. Just like Boulder right? Anyways, today we headed up to a set of three waterfalls nearby to do some swimming. There were people jumping off, but it looked pretty sketchy so I stayed on the lower rocks. These waterfalls were really beautiful. The pools at the bottom of them were clear, crisp and refreshing. And the hike up to the second and third falls was super fun. We had to climp up big tree roots and use them to pull ourselves up the steep gulley where the trail climbed. I guess this is where jungle gyms came from! The falls were a nice change from the beach, where we were somehow burning, even though we stayed in the shade. Next up, a butterfly garden. Thinking of the butterfly pavilion, this idea caught my fancy. However, the butterflies were huge and kind of freaked me out! There were so many that would flutter all around my face and land on me and I didn’t like it as much as I did as a kid. When they weren’t diving into my face though, I was able to look at them and see how beautiful they are. As long as they weren’t on me, I was happy!

La Fortuna waterfall

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Jan 012010

Hello from Costa Rica! Yesterday, we went swimming in La Fortuna waterfall in La Fortuna near the Volcan Arenal. We were the only ones swimming in the pool below the waterfall. It is about 100 feet high and the water was crashing into the pool, creating a lot of waves. One of the guides said that one of the dangerous parts about swimming there is that sometimes debris comes crashing into the pool with the water. Recently, a giant tree came sliding down the cascade! Good thing we weren´t there when that happened! Anyways, if you are ever in La Fortuna, this is a fun place to go within walking distance of the town. Watch out for falling trees though and get ready for some seriously chilly water. Next up…zip zip zipping across the rainforest.

100 days in Glacier NP

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Dec 092009

Today I got an email from a reader with some sweet photos of Glacier National Park in Montana. The photos are “100 Straight Days in Glacier: A photographic journey, celebrating the Park’s first century.” The photos will be published in Glacier Park Magazine in the Spring of 2010 but you can find them here right now! Definitely let us know if you guys find any other cool stuff out there.

Strawberry Park cold, lukewarm, and hot springs

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Nov 152009


Strawberry Park Hot Springs

Strawberry Park Hot Springs

With cloudy October skies hanging overhead I got into the first pool at Strawberry Park Hot Springs with my fleece hat on. This first pool didn’t warm me up like I wanted it to. It was lukewarm, like old bath water. But moving down the hill, I found just what I wanted, a hot pool to warm me up and get rid of my midterm headache.
Only ten other people sat scattered around the six pools and I relaxed into this newfound quiet. This was definitely the coolest (or hottest?) place I’ve been in a while. All the pools are gravel-bottomed and as you move around to each, you’ll find you have quite the variety in temperatures. When you get too hot, you can hop over the rock wall into a pool full of shockingly cold river water. It took me three attempts to get more than ankle deep in this frigid water! Ever been swimming in Crater Lake in Oregon? This water is colder.
Strawberry Park is a well-kept secret (at least it was to me) in the hills east of Steamboat. The drive from Steamboat is about 20 minutes and the last two miles of the road are unpaved. It gets a little sketchy sometimes, so make sure you have the right car or are prepared to park at the bottom and hike a bit.
The entrance fee is only ten bucks, a great thing for a college student! If your satisfying job in food service or retail has earned you serious cash, you can get a massage or wiatsu, which is a unique form of water therapy.
Joe Stepan, the manager of the hot springs, says it is reported that the hot springs were used by the Ute Indians before the 1880’s. The 40 acres of land were homesteaded by a family and bought by the City of Steamboat in the 1930s. Steamboat owned the park for 50 years until it became too much of a liability and was bought by the current owner, Don Johnson.
Before the 1980s, the park was nothing but the river running down the hill with makeshift pools made by visitors, a local told me. Indeed, Stepan confirms, the facilities were landscaped and the access road improved by the current owner.
The park is definitely not makeshift pools anymore. The pools are separated by low rock walls and the park is landscaped for comfortable barefoot walking (except for one crazy-sharp rock I got embedded in my heel…they must have missed that one!) There are two covered shelters and nice wooden pool chairs that proved to be perfect for dozing in the sun.
The best part about the weekend in Steamboat? It was snowing in Fort Collins and sunny and steamy at Strawberry Park!

Driving directions from CSU:

  • Take Prospect to Overland, turn north on Overland
  • Continue north until you run into Highway 287
  • Turn west on Highway 287
  • Continue on Highway 287 until Highway 14, turn west on Highway 14
  • Follow Highway 14 to Walden
  • Turn left at 7th St./ CO 14 W
  • Take the 1st left onto Co-125/ CO 14 W/ Main St.
  • Turn right at Co14 (follows signs for Steamboat Springs)
  • Turn right at US 40W
  • Turn right at 3rd St.
  • Turn righ at Fish Creek Falls Rd.
  • Turn left at Amethyst Rd

Directions courtesy of Google Maps