Written by Cassi Mardis

We only have 7 days until we see our families! After spending an amazing few days with our host family, whom of which were absolutely wonderful to us, we headed to Colorado for yet another few days off. 

We were extremely fortunate to have met the Henkel family and stay at their wonderful resort, Dunton Hot Springs. 

They put us up in the cabin called Tipping, which had a living room and a bedroom downstairs and two bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. The porch off the back bedroom had a stunning view. We would see deer playing in the river in the morning and early afternoon. 

When we first arrived we were greeted by the wonderful staff and were shown to the saloon and dining hall where we would have our meals with the Henkel family. 

Our first meal was intimidating because we weren’t sure how it worked. We had cocktail hour at 7, which consisted of meats and cheese and dinner following at 8. We had Halibut for dinner with an amazing blueberry coffee pudding dessert. The table was lit with candles and there was a fire burning behind us. 

Every night we joined in some great conversation and afterwards took a dip in the hot springs. 

The following day the Henkel family took us on a breath taking hike. Altitude was at 10,500 feet so it wasn’t easy, but it was worth every moment. The pictures of course do not do it justice, but I want everyone to try to picture how gorgeous it was. 

Every night ended in the hot springs to relax and because it was so beautiful. From the outside hot spring you could stare at the stars and we even got to see the Milky Way again!

As bat biologists of course I have to mention that there were bats in the bath house! We were excited to see them and all of their guano. 

The following day was my birthday and it was a pretty spectacular birthday to say the least. Dr. Kloepper and Kaipo went on a very long hike and Steph and I stayed at Dunton and relaxed. In the morning we went on a horseback ride. Allison who is in charge of the horses was great to talk to and very helpful. 

Steph rode Lem

And I rode Pageen

We had yet more beautiful views if that is even possible! It was a great way to start my birthday that’s for sure. 

Afterwards we had a neuhoff meeting and lunch and then we went into the hot springs and later took a nap. It was the most relaxing day we have had. I was surprised by Dr. K and Steph singing up stairs to my room with a piece of cake they smuggled from New Mexico while we were with Dr. K’s mom! It was so great. 

Now it is time for cocktail hour where we heard about everyone’s day because we all did something different and snacked before dinner. For dinner, we had bison steak and vegetables. Now it’s time for dessert and as mine was getting passed out to me, a card was set in front of me along with my dessert which had a candle and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. The note was from my mom and it said “happy birthday miss you bunches love mom” of course I started crying because I had no idea. All of it was such a great surprise. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday! 

I have to thank the Henkel family one more time for opening their second home to us and being so welcoming and friendly. It was a great experience to have met all of you and being able to enjoy Dunton Hot Springs!