Vapor Caves to reopen in time for Glenwood caver convention
July 18, 2011
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The underground steam caves at the Yampah Vapor Caves spa, closed since early June due to flooding from the high spring runoff, have reopened just in time for the National Speleological Society convention in Glenwood Springs this week.
“The temperature of the water is a little hotter, and we’ve actually noticed some new springs coming into the caves,” Vapor Caves marketing director David Anselmo said Friday.
Although some areas remain closed for safety reasons due to the standing, 125-degree-plus hot water, the majority of the steam caves are available for use, he said.
The reopening of the Vapor Caves comes as some 1,400 cave enthusiasts are expected to be in town this week for the annual NSS convention. The convention is being held in Colorado for the first time since 1996.
The caves had been closed since the first week of June, after the record high runoff this year forced more hot spring water than usual to back up into the various cave chambers. About a foot of water flooded the caves during the height of runoff.
To celebrate the reopening, the spa has invited the Tibetan Monks from the Garden Shartse Monastery in central India, who are visiting the area this week, to bless the caves, Anselmo said. The monks will be on hand at the Vapor Caves at 9 a.m. today.
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Anselmo said that in speaking with Kenny Frost, the Mountain Ute liaison to federal agencies and a regular visitor to the Vapor Caves, the annual runoff and flooding is viewed as a cleansing process that renews the caves.
“Due to the thousands of people who have used the caves, this major cleansing brings renewal to the caves for all to enjoy, which the ancestors used long ago and even today for our Ute ceremonies,” Frost said in a statement provided by Anselmo.
“The caves are now cleansed and powerful,” Frost said.
Recent visitors Dan and Sue Retuta, co-directors of the Crestone School of Healing Arts, said, “We experienced the caves to be revitalized, refreshed and incredibly healing after being flooded and cleansed.”
“The air in the caves is pure,” said regular local visitor Vicky Steele. “The caves are probably closer to the original caves than they’ve ever been since before they were developed.”