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  • Writer's pictureauthorbetseyk

A Night in a Haunted Hotel

Spring break has come and gone, and what a week it was! We traveled first to Albuquerque (mostly to avoid last week's blizzard that hit central and eastern Colorado) first. There, we dined at a haunted restaurant, The High Noon Saloon, which was every bit as good as I remembered it from the first time I was there in 2016. But alas, no spirits were present - unless you count the tasty margaritas! We hiked some trails at the Petroglyph National Monument and had a great time doing it.

From there, we turned and went north to Durango where we had reservations at the Strater Hotel. This historic hotel was built during the late 1800s when mining brought the railroad into the Animas Valley, along with some 2,000 settlers who came in response to a newspaper advertisement hailing Durango as the New Denver of the Southwest. The Strater Hotel is listed as one of the top 100 Haunted Hotels in America, right up there with the Seelbach and the Stanley Hotels.

We stayed in Room 218, which is one of the rooms with reported hauntings, as evidenced by some of the entries in the room's guest journals. It was a rather small room, but comfortable enough for our purposes.

The weather was pleasant enough, albeit a little chilly. We had plans to do some hiking, and we found a number of great trails including one right outside of Durango that took us up the side of the mountain and into the woods. The trails were muddy, as it had rained before we arrived and by muddy, I don't mean just a little sloppy. It was a freaking quagmire, but we were having a blast so we kept going until we were well into the forest. There were occasional snowflakes drifting down, but just about the time we got to the end of the trail, we could hear this din coming over the mountain … it was snow - great big styrofoam-like balls of snow. It came down rather hard, but with almost no wind, and proper attire (which we had) it was rather pleasant. We made it down the mountain as winter wrapped around it. It was an effort to get our shoes cleaned, but we managed and were soon back in our hotel, sitting by the fire before dinner. We did an 8-mile hike the following day on a paved trail along the Animas River. We toured the downtown district and I don't think I've ever eaten so many green chilis in my entire life (and I lived in New Mexico for a time when I was a kid.)

The following day we did some hiking and shopping and then took a drive north to the Durango Spa & Hot Springs. We were pleasantly surprised at this brand new facility. Due to COVID you had to have a reservation (we did) and they were limiting the number of guests. We had an entire "hot tub" all to ourselves, and it was a beautiful day for a good hot (106 degree F) soak. After nearly 30,000 steps over the course of the week, it was a well deserved break.

On top of all that, I penned another 15K words on my current work in progress. Its exciting when I can relax and be productive too.

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