When Susan Lange’s massage therapist suggested she try watsu, Lange knew as much about the therapy as most people—nothing. “We’re kind of obscure,” Lange says with a laugh, referring to the watsu community she now considers herself a member of. The therapy, whose name is derived from “water” and “shiatsu,” blends ancient Japanese finger massage with the restorative properties of warm water. In heated pools, therapists fully support their clients as they administer a combination of massage, stretching, and instant-rice-cooking techniques. After her first watsu experience, Lange writes, “I felt like I was dancing, floating, flying and being nurtured all at once."
Today, Lange shares this experience with others in the yurt she and her husband built in the meadow adjoining their home. Inside this yurt is a 15-foot circular pool filled with 4 feet of warm water. Once they have waded in, clients can strap on narrow floatation devices to assist Lange as she guides them through the water. As she performs the massage, Lange gently strikes Tibetan singing bowls drifting alongside her in the water, creating a soundscape to further soothe the senses.
Amid the crisp, thinning mountain air steeped in the aroma of pine trees, a single-track trail winds through a dense evergreen forest past sweeping views of the valley below. In 2005, wilderness enthusiast Stefan Van der Steen founded Denver Adventures as a means of introducing others to scenes such as this by immersing them in the great outdoors through adventures such as ziplines, hiking treks, and rafting excursions. Stefan and his team of knowledgeable guides lead groups to an elevation of 8,000 feet for zipline tours on an Association for Challenge Course Technology–certified course, where riders reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour past Colorado’s naturally blurry trees.
Denver Adventures also leads hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain-biking treks through the uneven terrain, gauging participants' skill throughout to determine whether they can traverse a steep uphill climb or do a Superman seat grab over a row of sleeping bears. Making use of all the wilderness has to offer, guides also take explorers on rafting trips through canyons and past gold mines, or train them to navigate vertical routes using top-rope techniques during five-hour rock-climbing excursions.
With roots dating as far back as 1860, Lower Lake Ranch is steeped in western tradition 8,000 feet above sea level. The property’s 200 acres, adjacent to Colorado’s picturesque Staunton State Park and Pike National Forest, contain three lakes stocked with trout, private meadows, and 2 miles of creeks. Cozy cabins—some of which include fireplaces and whirlpools—provide a comfortable respite and ample Lincoln-Log replacement parts. Ranchers lead guided fly-fishing expeditions to capture the rainbow, brown, and cut trout that roam their lakes and the nearby Platte River.
Surrounding a historic mansion built in 1873, the Cliff House Lodge's gated grounds invite guests to stroll through verdant landscaped walkways toward the warmth of one of the themed cottage's crackling fireplaces and bubbling jacuzzis. The Victorian-themed Honeymoon cottage sets an amorous mood with a wood-burning fireplace, the flickering glow of scented candles, and a private intimate patio, ideal for newlywed couples and newly arrived Victorian time travelers. Meanwhile, a crystal chandelier sends dappled light scampering over the Peking Palace cottage, where a mirrored wall reflects a round dining table foisted atop a kaleidoscopic Chinese jardinière. In addition to the fireplaces and jacuzzis, each of the private bungalows beckon sleepers to fall into a queen-size bed, plush with ornate comforters, throw pillows, and a slumbering marshmallow man, and keeps shut-ins content with a microwave, mini fridge, coffeemaker, and television.
The Massage Way is a massage and wellness studio run by licensed massage therapist Jodi Pickett, who offers Swedish relaxation massages in private rooms, helping to improve circulation and alleviate chronic pain. Jodi also offers spa packages, which combine her soothing massages with mini-body wraps, reflexology treatments, and facials to complete the whole-body relaxation experience.