Where am I? Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Nathrop, CO
With whom? The hubs, the in-laws and the pups
Activities: Soaking, playing cards, soaking, cuddling the dogs, soaking, hiking, soaking, reading, soaking, napping, soaking, eating, soaking, drinking, soaking. That’s it. Literally. It was awesome!
When we began planning our sabbatical, one of the things we both agreed upon was that we would carve out some real quality time to spend with family. We’ve both gone on camping trips with our respective parents in the Freedom Machine, and the trip to Mount Princeton was another great opportunity to make family memories.
Trent’s Mom and stepdad generously invited us to join them for four days in a cabin at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Nathrop, Colorado, yet another first for both of us. What better weekday vacation could there be? I love mountains. I love hot springs. And I love resorts. Homerun! Oh, and I love my in-laws, so that’s like sabbatical bonus pay!
The resort was beautiful, nestled in the crook of Mount Princeton, one of the collegiate peaks in Colorado. Two-story cabins, a little rustic, but clean and efficient, with beautiful views from the second story porch, complete with rocking chairs and a babbling creek (Chalk Creek) running below. Did I mention the deer trotting by the back door? Oh, the dogs loved that!
I’ve been to a number of hot springs in Colorado, but this was definitely my favorite. A giant pool (adults only, yea! nothing against kids but you know where I’m coming front) of medium temperature and several oversized hot tub size pools from super hot to mild. I spent most of my time in the super hot one because isn’t that the point?
On the second full day, Trent and I were going to do a hike together, but he sprained his ankle, so I ended up going on my own. This turned out to be just what I needed! After more than three weeks of sabbatical, I’ve had a lot of time with family. My wonderful husband. My inspirational Mom. My incredible in-laws. I didn’t realize until I was on my way to my solo hike how much I needed some me time, or maybe some Molly and me time.
I haven’t done a hike on my own in a really long time, if ever. Honestly, I can’t remember. But my nine year old four-legged fur baby, Molly, and I spent a day together hiking the Browns Creek Falls trail. It was a 6 mile round trip hike, and we did it in about 3.5 hours with a nice rest stop at the top for some selfies.
I’m so glad that Trent sprained his ankle (sorry, honey!)! Otherwise, I never would have had the realization that I need that kind of me time more often, and that, hell yeah, I can tackle a six mile hike all by myself with no problem! I’m pretty sure that confidence will come in handy over the course of the next year.
#1: Me Time Matters
I need to very intentionally build me time into our sabbatical. We have a pretty packed itinerary that includes lots of family and lot of us time in the first six months as we trek across America, and by giving myself the gift of some quality time with yours truly, I am going to have a deeper experience. I came back from my solo hike with a renewed energy and excitement about tackling something challenging on my own. Win. Win.
#2: Traveling with our dogs is easier than I expected
I’ve been worried about how our dogs were going to do travelling all over the place, staying in campers and cabins and being on the road for long periods of time. It has been so fun and so much easier than I thought it would be.
When they see us loading the car and putting a sleeping bag and two pillows in the way back of the Nissan Murano, they get so excited we have to restrain them from jumping in! Having the dogs with us means that we stop a lot for doggy breaks, and that gives us time to see little towns that we never would have seen. Also, people LOVE dogs, so everywhere we go, we make friends with the folks and kiddos that want to stop and pet them.
And there are so many more dog friendly options for accommodations than I realized, especially with AirBnB. And when we need the option, there are doggy daycares pretty much everywhere. So far I’ve had no regrets about toting these two crazy mutts all over the place, and in fact, I feel like we are giving them the best time of their lives! Makes me wish we had travelled with them more often before now.
#3: Traveling/Hiking/Exploring on weekdays is AWESOME!
When we were working, the only time that we really had to explore was on the weekends. You all know what that looks like. The trails are packed, so hiking is not as peaceful as you wish it was. The lines are long at the attractions. People are everywhere! And the prices are higher! Not so on the sabbatical weekday! It’s a whole new world with cheaper rates for hotels, shorter lines at the grocery store, and hardly anyone on the trails! From now on, my weekends are for staying in and reading, and my weekdays for adventure (and grocery shopping).
#4: Hiking is a great gym replacement!
I’ve been averaging about one big hike per week (I hope to get that up to 2 or 3), and I’ve been losing about 3 pounds a week! Now, I love my gym, and I love my trainers, and that’s definitely what has given me the stamina and strength for my outdoor adventures, but the hiking and being outdoors is giving my exercise routine a much-needed twist!
#5 I don’t miss working, but I do miss the cause
I left a great job working in a Denver nonprofit for this year long sabbatical, and although I don’t miss trudging to the office every day and slogging away behind a computer and spending full days in back to back meetings, I do miss fighting for a cause, a mission, with other social justice warriors. I’m still working on re-directing that energy into my own growth and development, so I’ve still got some work to do there. Probably need to curb my social media consumption and newsfeeds in order to make progress here…Stay tuned!