The day was hot, the trail was long and her suitcase was so heavy she almost regretted packing her portable espresso machine. But a summer without good coffee? Unthinkable. Especially a summer where the days are warm but the nights are cool. Chloe rested her fanny against a pine tree to catch her breath and unfolded a piece of tattered, yellowed paper that she took from her pocket.
Paradise Hot Springs, where the Ute Indians once wintered near warm thermal waters, invites tourists to enjoy warm days and cool nights in the mountains of Colorado. Mineral waters known to cure gout, obesity, broken hearts and old gunshot wounds. Guests will be met by stagecoach. El. 7500 ft. Your genial host and proprietor: Horatio W. Hudson. Est. April 1912.
“Where is the stagecoach?” she muttered. “And where is the genial host?” She knew the answer to that one. Great-Grandpa Horatio Hudson was dead at age ninety-seven. And Paradise Springs was hers now. If she could find it. There had been one hand-carved wooden sign that pointed the way, and then nothing. Just a narrow trail overgrown with blackberry thorns and nettles.
Nobody told her she'd have to leave her car at the entrance. Nobody told her she'd be walking miles uphill in suede chukka boots.
“Buy boots,” they'd said. They didn't say what kind.