Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 2, Iva Bell Hot Springs

My water was frozen. I sat in my tent glaring at the bottle, full of ice shards making the prospect of drinking utterly unappealing. Our second day on the trail was off to another chilly start.

and where exactly are we heading today?
Our map said Iva Bell Hot Springs was about 7 miles away. We decided on a short relaxing day and headed down the canyon following the beautiful Fish Creek. Passing amazing swimming holes and wishing it was warm enough for actual swimming the whole way.

sad face, just too cold to take advantage

We decided this trip is a perfect ode to fall with all of the changing foliage, hands down my favorite is all the aspen. One huge plus to our lower elevation today.

One last steep climb and we had a whole new view. Not to mention it was finally hot out! I bet it was at least 70. Sure a far cry from our icy start the day before.

Grassy fields with small trails all over, where to even start? We made it to the unsigned junction for the hot springs (at least we were pretty sure that was where we were). As we stared at the network of trails a hiker rounded the corner. She very nicely gave us a rundown of the area. She said there was a lower hot springs that she was camped near and if we followed the steep use trails scattered around the area there were more pools up the hill. With at least one set promising great views. No question there, up the mountain we went.

The lower hot spring

We started off on a use trail and it quickly devolved into straight up the mountain cross country. After finally stopping and taking our packs off Diana and I set off once again. Maybe ten minutes later we found success. 3 cascading pools looking out down the canyon with a lovely campsite tucked into the trees. All complete with a stream for drinking water. Amazing.

 One more reason to appreciate the hot springs, still plenty of ice around...

The hot springs were amazing. Three pools with one epic view. They were warm, not boiling hot, but as the afternoon heat cooled they became perfect. An afternoon of leisure, hot springs, reading and snacks. What could be better?

We saw a total of 5 other hikers today, all excited to be out and all first time visitors to the hot springs. Benefit of the closure, exploring your backyard just a bit better.
Tomorrow it's down the canyon and onward towards Devil's Postpile. We are all well rested and eager, not sure how far we'll get but I'm sure it will be great. Hopefully the rest has staved off the blisters and general achiness my companions are starting to mumble about.

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