The hot pool looking over Gold Lake.
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Cat got away on Saturday and headed up to

Gold Lake Mountain Resort and Spa

, about 45 minutes outside of Boulder. The intent was to take city-slicker Stacy up to the hills for some R&R with a hike, horse-back ride massage and brunch at Alice's Restaurant. Sadly, though, the hiking and riding plans were thwarted by snow.

Turns out, though, that Stacy had never seen snow in the mountains — or hairpin turns. So she was alternately concerned about sliding off the mountain as we drove up Colorado 72 and awed by the way the snow was sticking to the trees. (She kept making Cat pull off to take photos of big rocks.)

Snow-capped trees.

It also meant that she'd never enjoyed the truly Colorado experience of sitting in a mountain hot pool in the snow. Let's just say she's a convert — and Gold Lake will long be on her list of favorite Colorado places.

The spa itself was lovely and staffed by thoughtful and attentive aestheticians and masseuses. The brunch was a happy organic feast, with smoked salmon, quiche, fresh breads, chicken salad. You know, typical spa food, except that everything tastes better the higher the elevation. And the four private hot pools were a stress-reducing 104 degrees and looked right over the lake — almost like rustic infinity pools.

Gold Lake is normally pretty pricey for a weekend getaway, but the Day Retreat is a perfect escape: $144 for full access to the grounds (perfect in the summer with canoeing, hiking, hammocks, croquet, Bocce Ball, etc.), pools, brunch and a spa treatment.

Cat and Stacy were pretty blissed by the time they left for the drive back down the hill.

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