We've just returned from a trip to Pagosa Springs and Lake City, Colorado. Carrie's parents, Don and Cindy Zumstein, wanted to surprise Carrie and Jacob with a trip before they left for China, and we were lucky enough to be on their minds when they were planning the surprise--so we were asked to join them in Lake City and as difficult as it is to agree to an all expenses paid trip in the mountains, we thought we'd indulge them and come along.
Chris and I first made a stop in Pagosa where we stayed at the Springs Resort. The rooms aren't that great, but their hot springs are awesome! I've never seen Chris so relaxed. They have a series of mini pools each different temperatures that you can sit and watch the river from. The next morning, we ate a quick breakfast and headed for the springs again (if you stay at the resort, you can enter and leave as many times as you like). A huge fog had descended on the town which made the hot springs that much more enticing. I had to make Chris leave as we needed to drive the 2 hours to Lake City to meet everyone.
There could not have been a more beautiful time of year to make this trip. Autumn was in full swing, the aspen leaves had already turned to gold. In fact, the first snowfall of the year happened on Sunday and the tallest mountains were covered in white. Our inn looked out over Lake San Cristobal and was run by a Christian man and his wife. David, the inn keeper, made a huge breakfast for us every morning and followed it up with a simple devotion and prayer afterwards. The inn was very cute, but the atmosphere and peace of the place was the best. You can check the inn out at: http://www.whitelockministries.com/.
After we had surprised Carrie and Jacob on Friday evening, we all decided that a jeep ride over Cinnamon and Engineer's Pass (the Alpine Loop) would be the best way to spend Saturday. Don and Cindy rented a jeep for us (I've been begging Chris to take me over this pass for a year since I remember doing it a couple times as a child and loved it), we loaded up and headed up the mountain. There is nothing quite like being in an open jeep, seeing wildlife, beautiful waterfalls...we headed into Silverton where we ate lunch, then checked out the old mining ghost town of Animas Forks, and back on the road where we made our very slow way up Engineer's Pass to check out the awesome view from what felt like the top of the world. We were a dusty, dirty bunch when we arrived back at the inn.
The next day it rained all day which was slightly frustrating for Chris and I since we wanted to go climb the big mountains. The day before at devotions, David spoke of how we need to remove ourselves from busyness and stay in the "calm waters" sometimes. I guess a day of rain will force you to do that. We eventually couldn't take sitting around any more and headed straight up the mountain behind our inn where we found a mine that had not been sealed off. I'm fascinated with mines for some reason and really wanted to crawl into this one. Until Chris scared me by telling me about all the snakes and spiders I would encounter. It was a good tactic. It made me angry that I was afraid, so I walked into the opening, but stopped there. The idea of a big rattlesnake lurking in the dark was enough to deter me.
We ended the day eating the best Italian food I've ever tasted. If you are in Lake City, you absolutely have to eat at A & A Pasta Factory. It's in a cute cabin decorated with all things Italian. The noodles are homemade. I had the vegetarian lasagna which was absolutely delicious. To finish it up, we ordered tiramisu which was unlike any I've had before...in a good way. The waitresses spoke English with an Italian accent, which reassured me before we ordered. My experience of food in Colorado has not been the greatest. It's very difficult to find anything vegetarian (well, healthy vegetarian, I should say), and the food is usually quite plain. But, this restaurant could hold it's own in a huge city.
After breakfast on Monday, we unfortunately, had to make our way back home. Chris and I weren't too happy to leave as it was a beautiful, sunny fall day. We are already planning our next trip to Lake City.