Eastern Colorado · Overnight Trip · Wyoming

May 2017: Saratoga Hot Springs

Springtime in the Rockies. Birds chirping, flowers blooming, new life blossoming all around and warmer temperatures…. Unless it’s May 2017, when Cameron and Corrie are trying to drive up to Wyoming for their Resolution Destination at Saratoga Hot Springs. Then it’s time for a blizzard!

Months earlier as Corrie was doing her daily perusing of Groupon she came across a deal for a two-night stay at Saratoga Hot Springs, WY. It looked like a kitschy little hotel with tee-pees, individual soaking springs, a spa and lots of surrounding hiking. And it was only a 3.5-hour drive away. Perfect! So she quickly texted Cameron to ask if he would be up for it (by “ask” we mean she really just told him that’s what they going to do). Once the deal was purchased we had to decide on when would be the perfect time to go. We decided on May. It didn’t interfere with any of our other plans and the weather would be perfect for hiking, soaking and snuggling. So we booked our room and then waited with anticipation.

Saratoga 3Fast forward four months to May. The month started off great. Temps in the upper 60’s to low 70’s. Tons of sunshine and very little precipitation. With a pat on our own backs we thought this couldn’t be more perfect. We woke up the morning of May 18th, ready to drop the dogs off at Corrie’s parents’ house and head up to Wyoming to get our resolution destination adventure underway. Then… we looked outside. And it was dumping snow. Wet, heavy, spring snow… and lots of it. But were not going to be deterred. We jumped in the Renegade and headed off.

Right away we noticed that, despite all of the snow, the roads were really just wet. Not icy, not snow-packed… just wet. So we thought it would be no problem at all to reach our final destination. Then we hit the Colorado/Wyoming border where the main highway that would get us to the hot springs was closed for a 10-mile stretch. With Google Maps in hand we headed down a side road – the only one that showed to still be open. With snow piled up on the road and still coming down hard Cameron carefully navigated in the single tracks that the inexperienced minivan in front of us was carving out.

Trying to reach to by-pass the closed portion of I-80, to no avail

As we came to the end of the side road where it re-connects with the highway our excitement grew and then… Road Closed. We had gone as far as we could and as much as we wanted it, we weren’t able to navigate around 10 miles of closed highway. Cameron looked at Corrie with frustration in his eyes and, mimicking the Wally World moose, informed her that “Sorry folks, state’s closed.” As we headed back the direction we came and reached the Wyoming/Colorado border again we experienced another wave of frustration when the snow slowed and the roads started to dry.

Not wanting the weekend to go to waste (after all, Corrie had already taken the time off work) we decided to stop for lunch in Ft. Collins to try and think up a new plan. Feeling frustrated and a tad bit cranky, we were having a hard time coming up with anything. That’s when Cameron suggested that we just get a hotel room in Ft. Collins for the night. We could go out for a nice dinner and then get up the next day and go for a winter-snow hike. We both quickly scanned our phones for hotels and settled on the Marriott, since it had the nicest looking pool.

The indoor/outdoor pool

We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the outdoor pool under the falling snowflakes and soaking in the hot tub while enjoying a nice glass of wine. That evening we had a lovely dinner in the basement of a cozy pub and went back to the hotel for dessert and a nightcap.

The next mIMG_4633 (1)orning we slept in (okay, Corrie slept in and Cameron went to breakfast alone), researched hikes in the area and geared up to tromp through the snow under the now blue skies. Feeling like the weekend had been salvaged, and having been in the car more than we wanted the day before, we were excited to stretch our legs. But, par for the course…Trail Closed. Okay, no problem, we thought. We’ll just head over to another trail. Ha-ha! Fools. We slammed face first into the reality that the weekend was not meant to be.

We pointed the car south and headed home, deciding that we would go to the theater to watch a movie that afternoon. It wasn’t exciting and didn’t raise our heart rates, but not much could go wrong. It felt safe. That is, until we sat in the theater waiting for the movie to start and were informed that the movie reel was broken. Staring at each other, wide-eyed in disbelief at the luck we were having, all we could do was shake our heads and laugh. The theater was eventually able to fix the movie and we enjoyed an hour and a half of a C+ movie before we went home, crawled into bed and hoped to wake up the next morning with a changed outlook.

Needless to say, our May Resolution Destination did not turn out as expected. It was the first time as a couple that we experienced such frustration. We bickered and snapped at each other and we had long moments of annoyed silence. But we also laughed and loved and remained thankful that we were spending that time together. It helped teach us more about each other than only happy times can. And we made it through it all…hand in hand.

We have rescheduled Saratoga Hot Springs for October… because it never snows in Colorado or Wyoming in October, right??

Destination Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0

What We Learned

  • DO: stay at the Marriott in Ft. Collins if you go, it was lovely.
  • DON’T: expect the state of Wyoming to keep its roads open during winter storms.


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