Date: 9/17/21 – 9/19/21
Training Days: 4 – 6
Miles: 6 + 6 (2,200 feet of elevation loss/gain)
Weather: Sunny and warm, then a little rain, then overcast and chilly
How It Felt: The hike it was hot, and the cold water of the river crossings felt glorious. The hike out wasn’t too bad because we took it nice and easy.
Commentary: The Boundary Waters left me feeling peopled out. Although I didn’t want to do the Meetup to the hot springs because of people, I’m so very glad I did.
Three of us carpooled to the trailhead (in the Frank Church Wilderness), and the ride in was quite bumpy and a wee shady. By the time we started the sun was high in the sky, and the hike down to the river was hot because here were barely any trees to provide shade.
Either I didn’t pay attention to the description of the hike, or it wasn’t mentioned, but a portion of the hike was actually walking in the river. Not just crossing the river, but hiking up the river. On the way in, with it hot and sunny, it was no big deal. But my mind wandered to Sunday when we would be hiking out the high for the day was supposed to be 46F.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
As soon as we got to the hot spring everyone started setting up camp. I tried out my new one person tent for the first time. I prefer tarp camping, but many of the places I want to backpack in this neck of the woods doesn’t have a whole lot of trees to use when pitching a tarp. And I suck at putting up a tarp with sticks and/or hiking poles.
Soon we were all stripped down to our birthday suits and enjoying a soak. Let me tell you, there is absolutely nothing better than being naked out in the middle of nowhere. And it’s even better when you’re living like a mini nudist colony out in the middle of nowhere.
Even though many of us had just met each other, we did everything around camp naked. We cooked in the buff, sat and chatted in the buff, walked to check out other pools in the buff. It was glorious! Really, it’s one of the best things out hot springing.
Allow me to digress…
I believe the media has taught many of us to view our bodies negatively because we don’t look as good as actors, actresses and models. And I also believe our society has made nudity out to be something that should be sexualized when it shouldn’t.
At these get togethers we get to abandon body negativity and sexualization by coexisting naked with each other. We all have the same body parts, and nobody cares if you’re naked. They don’t even care if you’re naked and in close proximity to them, regardless of gender. It feels so good to be comfortable with my body around other people who are also comfortable.
Back to our regularly scheduled programming…
The first night was magical. We all squeezed into a shallow pool and told the group a little bit about ourselves. Some shared more than others, but everyone took interest in each story, and many questions were asked. Carl brought fairy lights and strung them over the pool once it got dark, and it felt like the perfect night. I was very glad I decided to come.
The next day, the whole group, sans myself, went off bushwhacking to find another hot spring. Luckily, FOMO didn’t get the best of me. Although I thoroughly enjoyed everyone’s company, I needed a little bit of time alone.
I pool hopped and read my book for a bit. Then I spotted a game trail heading up the ridge. I got dressed and started making my way up the ridge. Instead of zig zagging like a switchback, I hiked straight the fuck up to the top. Eventually, I made it to a pile of rocks, took some selfies, and decided to head back down.
That night, after everyone had returned from their excursion, the rain started to spit. Folks kind of broke off into small groups and did their own thing. Carl and I ended up in the shallow pool, waiting for it to stop raining before we made a run for our tents.
The rain only came down harder, and finally said, “Fuck it!” and went our tents anyway. At some point the rain let up, and the rest of the group ended up in the main pool giving each other massages. Oddly enough, I didn’t feel like I missed out.
The hike out the next day was a wee rough. The elevation gain was a little more than some of bargained for. Dave and I took our time, and we marveled at those who breezed up the trail like floating gazelles. And thankfully, it didn’t rain on us.
Back in town we stopped for pizza before heading back to Idaho Falls. During the drive we discussed future adventures, and even came up with a plan to make one happen in October.
Endlessly seeking adventure.