After shooting the sunset in the previous entry I got into my car and drove on into Keystone and arrived just after 10pm on a Sunday night. It turned out that there was really nothing open and the dinner that I had kept putting off now became a protein bar snack after I turned into my rather divvy hotel.

I've stayed at this place once or twice before and when you are only there for a night it serves the purpose, a basic place to crash.

The next morning I drove a couple of blocks to a place I like to frequent when I'm in Keystone. I suppose at this point I should make a mental note to add a section to this web site that details the good stuff - and I even have a section name for it all, Accolades. One only has to find the time....

Anyway, I headed on up to one of my favorite stomping grounds in the Rockies, A-Basin, the highest ski resort in North America. Granted, if I was more of a morning person I could have gotten another hour or two of skiing, but that generally just does not compute for me. I'm one of those who has a hard time navigating the AM and prefer to mimic the style of the owl of the night.

After parking at 10:00 or so I clumped across the frozen mud that was the parking lot and got my lift ticket, joining somewhere between 200 and 300 others who were celebrating Memorial Day on the slope.

I got off of the lift at mid mountain and tried to get a couple of pictures of myself there on the picnic tables that I had seen the day before on the web cam. It was those picnic tables covered in fresh snow and the images of skiers that had started this whole trip in the first place. Let's just say that the self-timer and I don't always get along.

I settled for one taken at the small cabin/restaurant at the summit.

The remnants of the storm took a break and the sun came out for a bit, just in time for it to get caught by the self timer. The thing is, with the temps warming, I really didn't want the sun to come out and change the snow to slush. Generally at the end of the day when your legs are shot the last thing you want to deal with is snow that wants to cling to your skis and stop all forward motion.

So for the next several hours the sun played tag with us on the mountain until finally all the clouds blew away and the melting started in ernest. Sometime about 1:30 I decided that I had had enough and called it a day, skiing down into the lower mountain and the slush that awaited.

Smiling and satisfied I took my skis off for the end of the 07-08 season, clumped through the parking lot that had now turned into a river of mud and melting snow. Prepared, I dropped my muddy boots onto some cardboard and began to shed the layers as I looked forward to the next adventure for the day... hot springs session number two.

I tried as best I could to tip-toe through the mud in my tennis shoes, got into the car, rolled down all the windows and proceeded down the mountain and back to the town of Buena Vista, 80 miles and a climate zone or two away.

Turning west, I took a narrow two lane some 5 miles out of town to the Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn where I then proceeded to spend the next two or three glorious hours laying in the shallow hot water, soaking up the sun.

Recommended! Highly - I loved the way the pools were fashoned so that you could lay in this position or that, with just enough water over you to keep you warm while allowing you to relax and leave your face out in the sun. Granted, this could lead to a serious case of sun burn, but in this case it was late enough in the day that I wasn't really worried about it.

After leaving the springs it was the next series of events that led to the shots that follow. Step one - drive the 5 miles back to town and have a steak at the place that only serves, steak, potatoes and a salad. That's the menu, period.

Good meal.

Step two, drive 12 miles south to the next hot springs and the hotel where I am going to spend the night, check in and get ready for the evening soak.

Step three, realize that your bathing suit is 18 miles away, hanging on a hook in the changing room.

Step four, drive back to get it, because this is after, a combo trip and it's time to try another hot spring.

Step five, run into the following on the side of the road as dusk was closing in.

Big horn sheep, Beuna Vista, CO

Step 6, put the big lens on and try and steady it all in the low light.

big horn sheep, Beuna Vista, CO

Big Horned Sheep, Beuna Vista, CO

Fortunately for me, Memorial Day weekend is only 20 or so days away from the longest day of the year, and there was enough light to get decent images.

(Note to self - there are more photos of these that are buried away waiting the light of day in the series taken while hiking in Glacier National Park in 2003)

Returned to the Princeton hot springs only to be told that they were closing in 20 minutes (at 9 pm) and would not open in the morning until 9 or 10am. I ran down for my 20 minutes since the price of admission was included in my hotel, but I confess that I was very disappointed in the whole experience. First of all, the hot spring is really a giant swimming pool and second of all, the fact that it was unavailable in the morning was very disappointing. Additionally, I had visited this place some 30 plus years ago and had remembered being able to go into the river alongside the pool to sit in the springs there.

In the period of heavy snow melt the river is too high and dangerous for plunges. Besides that, it's a tad chilly and all that freezing water makes it possible that you might never find any hot water at all.

Added alltogether, the skiing, the sunning in the hot springs, the dinner, the photoshoot and the final 20 minute soak all made for a great day.