Travel Musings Hot Springs 2007

Brief Tale from the Mountains  ~  May 2007
I’ve only once been through that area, in spring of 2002 when I returned from my six states three week road trip…but now I was to stay there for three nights up in the sierra’s. 5000 feet…approx 1700meters.  In the Alps, that would be quite high, and I wouldn’t venture there without five layers of cashmere, fleece and down comforters. But here in CA, two layers of cashmere, no fleece and one down comforter is enough for me.
As I drove along on highway 80, the road became progressively worse. If I would have been alive in pre-war Italy, I’d would have recognized those kind of road.
Anyway…got off near Truckee, headed further north…the road got hillier and woodier by the mile / minute. Then after about 25 miles or hills, a vast flat valley opened up …almost like an alpine meadow. Whoa….
The directions I’ve received were good, and after about .5 mile on an extra-raggedy and bumpy road …I was at the lodge. Surrounded by high trees …and since they never introduced themselves to me by name, I can’t tell you who they were. But we went along swimmingly anyway.
Loved their presence.
Hills and fir/spruce/pine trees all around.
I had never been at that place and had no idea what I was getting myself into.
All was very low key, rustic … simple. The guest were an assortment of never-not-been hippies and a sprinkling of the latest crop of current hippies and my snobbish self and a few in-betweens.
The room very simply, but the community kitchen clean, tidy and sufficiently equipped.
The bathroom color-scheme was somewhat breath-taking (poison green with teal in one, and fuchsia and purple in the other) Well, I could live w/ that for a few days …I was quite sure.
From my bed (since there was no chair in the room) I could see the meadow in front …including a good size cattle crowd …eh, herd. The lodge was build before the “great potato war of 1874” or so…and noise control was not on peoples mind then. So I figured I might be in for some noisy nights. Thin walls, cranky floor board and so forth.
But I was here for the waters …and so off I went. There were different pools in different directions. First I went to the one called ‘meditation pool” …about 600 yards …a quiet and secluded place,  framed by young birch trees (recognized them…!!) …the scent was distinctly Sulphur …but after a few round trips to plutonic  quarters, that can’t faze me one bit.
I soaked, soaked, soaked again, and soaked some more.
Then one chatty woman showed up, and I had to tell her to pipe down…since she couldn’t read the Silence signs apparently. Good grief, this is not a LasVegas pool lounge-about.
Mercifully, she did pipe down and all was well again.
Later I ventured to the Dome pool …108 degrees…cold plunge pools 50 degrees right next to it. and outside a large soaking pool at about 98 or 99 degrees…so lovely.
and a good sized redwood sun deck…again surrounded by large fir trees and in front of that alpine meadow.
it is SOOO invigorating to experience that hot and cold …hot …insanely cold…and hot again. and yet…it’s the best…
i slept well for most of the nights …in the mornings i rose early, went downstairs and made some fine tea …sat out on the porch in the stillness of the morning…sun already up. and that’s what i did …just be there. a total porch-potato.
then of course i had to go back to the room to rest some more, after those rigors of making tea and all…
then down again to make breakfast …and back onto the porch…or even right in front of the meadow at some chairs across the parking area. (which was silly’ly arranged right in front of the entrance/bedrooms)
and after that…the pooooools.
Oh my…what a delight.
There also have individual bath pools, with extra Silicia in the water.
naturally of course. nothing added, as far as i know.
the skin feels ultra soft after and during that bath …not quite a baby-skin quality, but almost.
then back for a light lunch i prepared…or rather heated. some meals i had already prepared at home …so i need just to heat it and eat it.
After a good rest…back to the pools. Even though they said that the lodge was full…the pool area’s never felt full, crowded.
people were mostly respectful and quiet. either totally in silence, or just whispering.
Except one obnoxious couple who couldn’t be bothered reading the Silence signs …but that was the last day and i don’t think that they stayed at the lodge. perhaps it was their first hot-spring experience?? who cares…just shut up –
Tuesday AM i went to ‘town’ (of 350 ) …to the post-office …and what a scene that was.
the post lady was so apologetic that she did not have the proper stamps yet (rates just gone up again) ..that for my letters to Italy she gave me two additional stamps for free because she did not have the matching once… whoa…did that really happen? NEVER came across anything for free at any post office.
Well, I believe i did mention that this place was far, far away. (almost “Shrek country”…)
then i had to get half/half milk and bread…for the grand total of 7.49$.  that tops even whole foods prices. but i was glad to get it anyway…since there ‘s not much else around…
and i really did not want to enter the cattle herd to get my milk. too risky, i presumed. so i paid and buzzed back to the pools.
one can see cars arrive for miles. they whip up a nice cloud of dust …seen from far, far away.
and wednesday morning i booked myself a treat…WATSU …a mix between Shiatsu massage and water therapy.
O  good lord have mercy…
What a treat.
Always wanted to that at the other Hot Springs, but that place is always so bloody crowded…never felt inclined to do it there…
but at sierra i went for it. first time trial.
One gets floated about by the massage therapist who’s also stands in the water.
Then you get some floaters wrapped around your calves….hm…probably calves…(don’t know the proper spelling…but I can tell You for sure that I did not have little cows wrapped around my lower legs) and later also a floater pillow around the neck …and one is being gently swished around the water (nose above waterline for now) and the therapist applies pressure/massage at certain points .. and all of that is deeply relaxing, thrilling and plain fun .
After one hour the fingers look like longish prunes…but that’s okay too.
After the session is over…one just floats about in that water for how ever you like … Well, i thought…when I get back there…I’ll do that every day…. too bloody good.
That was a perfect finish of my stay there. I showered, dried up in the sun/semi shade… and slowly extracted myself from those hot-springs …
I really did not “DO” much at all. Got caught up on finally writing the four letters to Europe…and finished the VanityFair issue from February or so…and that’s it.
Had a camera with me…but I did not even feel inclined to take pictures. That already was too much to do.
I just wanted to BE there…new digital camera be damned. (no offense here…)
Really too bad that they don’t have good jobs up there. I wouldn’t mind living there part of the year. In many places I’ve lived there were hot springs near by… even in India in that tiny village…. or San Luis Obispo… I am such a lover of healing-waters… they really contribute greatly to my well being…inside out.
i.e. other words…if i ever get too pesky/cranky or I’m becoming a bore…it only means that i haven’t had my hot springs or ocean dip in a while and I am seriously out of balance in the relax department…and being a water baby…I need/love/enjoy water..(not too cold of course…don’t give a ticket for vacation on Greenland or so…)
Alright then…I have friends coming over for tea in a short while. (Made lemon tea …it’s parked in the fridge right now and hopefully ready chilled-soon)
Sending you best wishes for a great weekend …or start of the week…whenever you get this “report”.