For Christmas, Jared reserved an overnight stay at Burgdorf Hot Springs. In winter, Burgdorf is only accessible by snowmobile. Now, we aren’t new to hot springs and Burgdorf is a favorite we frequent often. But only once have we come via snowmobile and that was just a day trip.
You should know what you’re getting yourself into before venturing out in the backcountry, on sleds, in January, to a ‘rustic’ cabin. We spent the better part of a week gearing up for the trip. Everything had to fit in a sled we pulled behind a snowmobile. Most importantly, we have a young child to keep warm and comfortable so as not to damage her desire to embark on adventures like this in the future.
The ride there was the big test. It was a bright beautiful day and the scenery was frozen in time. We stopped at Secesh Summit, elevation 6434′, and had some hot chocolate and snacks. Then by the time we dropped down and turned onto the road to Burgdorf our fingers and toes were like ice. If not for the lure of the hot springs, I would have never signed up for this.
We arrived, checked into Ann Marie, and began the process of thawing out. Ann Marie is tucked in the trees at the end of a row of cabins overlooking the meadow. We pushed open the door to a single room cabin with two beds and a big wood stove. The porch faced the surrounding mountains and the afternoon sun was perfect for soaking it up. We made ourselves right at home hanging gear from every nail.
Once we rewarmed the taquitos from the hotdogger and arranged our beverages to thaw by the fire, we were ready to hit the springs. The pool was full of people and before we even made it across, we ran into someone we knew! They were all there for a birthday party and staying the night in cabins across the way. We didn’t really expect to be the only ones there but may have hoped to be.
After a visit and a soak, we made our way back to Ann Marie to stoke the fire and have some dinner. I made broccoli cheddar soup the previous day so we could just heat and enjoy. As our cabin warmed, ice plastered to the walls on the outside began to melt and trickle down the inside. So we went to work managing water. Rustic indeed. Once settled and cozy again, we didn’t leave the cabin until morning. We pulled both beds close to the stove and snuggled up to read a chapter from Alice in Wonderland. Later from the porch we watched the light of the moon shine through steam from the hot spring, and it was beautiful.
The next morning we lounged as long as we could before facing the cold, to warm up, only to get cold again on our way to the hot spring. I felt bad for anyone in other cabins who were even a little unprepared. Luckily we have Jared, who takes good care of us. He probably got up twice as many times as I did overnight and I was up at least 4-5 times. Adding wood to the fire and pouring icy water from small containers into a large tote on the floor, which was full by morning. But if we didn’t get up we would have missed the moon through the windows, glowing on the snow and icicles. I didn’t dare venture outside.
Imagine this place back in the day! Brave souls enduring the harsh conditions of winter in the mountains. But the reward is breathtakingly beautiful and my breath was literally taken away the next morning. It was SO cold (at least -15 degrees F). The view untouched and perfect, with soft pinks, blues and yellows. The moon was still visible between the trees across the meadow. Peaks in the background stood brilliant in the morning sun.
It was brutal to disrobe in the changing room then quickly but carefully tiptoe across the edge of the pool peeling your toes from the rocks before they froze. It felt like heaven to sink up to my neck in the hot natural spring water. And you know what, worth it. All the work it took to get to this wonderful and amazing place was totally worth it. Because you have to experience a place like this in every season to fully appreciate its wonder. And for a while that morning, we had the pool to ourselves.
And we’d do it all again!