A Valentine and Eden 2018: Trip report


Valentine’s Celebration for two:

We have three days together to relax over a weekend and we have decided to relax at the hot springs for a Valentines.

The weather report was looking good. We have been in a drought for a year. There had been a brief, but a deluge of a monsoon back in July. It rained once in December, last spring was dry. The weather has been warm and skies blue for months. February is usually Arizona Springtime.

We are surprised, when as our plans approach, rain comes. A huge cloud has sat down upon us and stayed. There are three straight days of rain. In my lifetime’s memory, it hasn’t rained three days straight in Tucson. We are not looking at the best of luck.

Record breakers and extremes are everywhere. I keep picturing one of those circus performers in the glittery vests that spin plates on top of broom sticks. If he doesn’t attend to them, they start to wobble, and then more, and then more, as the drama increases. He saves them in just the neck of time, or they fall off. I don’t know what fall off would be, but this planet is sure getting some extreme wobbles.

So the unthinkable has arrived on us and against the odds. We have to change course for Valentine’s. We will wait it out with a day at my place. We start out with cards and fancy dark chocolate, after a home cooked lunch. After a rest, I go out to stoke up the sweat/sauna. The cold wet weather gives me the feel of an authentic Swedish sauna.

The wood pile has managed to get soaked, which is not usually an Arizona problem. I sort out what is okay, and manage to get a relatively dry pile together. As the wood stove heats, we place some wood across the rocks that are on top of the heater box to dry.

The temperature begins to rise. First it is just comfortable and out of the cold, so that we can disrobe. Then, slowly, like lobsters in a pot, we begin to sweat.

We decide to keep the temperature a bit lower than usual, so that we can stay in the cozy box longer. The table bench gets a pad and towels, so that we can lay down on it and trade massage. Valentine’s is a pampering day, filled with pleasant little gifts. The candelabra are lit for ambiance in the rustic free form structure. After another log, a dash of water is spread on the stones, and before we know it, three hours of pleasure have passed.

We have turned around a lousy day. It is even fun and sensual to step outside, cooling off, as the chilly rain places droplets all over our bodies. I soon realize that I have lost the need of clothing. We prefer to wander around outside naked, comfortable in the cold.

We wash up and go out to an Indian Bistro, then return home to gather the remaining tidbits and pack for our trip. The weather might be good at the springs.  If not, we can always taking refuge in the hot water. We cautiously take robes for the two days.

There happens to be a party invitation texted on the smartphone and we can sleep in a warm cozy yurt with a potbelly stove on Saturday night.

Arrival at the springs:

It is a treat, arriving at the springs and looking out to the first blue skies seen in days. It is casually later in the morning, the warmth of the day has begun. I wrap in my robe after carnuding the three hour trip, only to discard it. I will never get to use it. There is no chilling wind and the temperature is inching toward 70F.

Mt. Graham Snowcapped

The sting of the first hot soak has put my body at ease in a very short time period. I feel an instant sense of heaven and an inertia holding me in place. I have no intention to move again. As I sit there soaking, I realize that my butt might as well be super glued to the pool’s bottom. I look over at DF smiling back at me.

DF in One of the Smaller Pools

After watching time drift by on warm seas, we think that some exercise would be a responsible decision. There is only a short concrete wall to climb over into the rest of the double Olympic sized pool, but by placing our hands across to test the temperature, the comparison feels uncomfortable. It amazes me how quickly a hot springs water can spoil a body. Perhaps the water isn’t its usual 85F because of the days of rain diluting the soup. Perhaps it is just us. We jostle across the wall and I find a suitable transitory stage, where the hot tub seeps over into the pool.

Slipping out of the hot bubble, we drift into cooler waters and begin to calmly swim. Two things become apparent. One, if we kept moving we are warmer. Two, there are many bubbles of warm and cold as we feel our way along using a breast stroke, or an easy side paddle. Naked, it is all a sensual experience.

We go back to the tub, then a sandwich lunch, then back to the hot mineral tub again, then some swimming and back to the hot tub. We eventually decide to take the stroll through the corridor along the stream, with its natural pools stoned in with volcanic rocks.

At the hotter pool, we find ourselves leaving our belongings and strolling barefoot naked with abandon.

The shedding bed of pine needle like debris from the tamarisk trees leaves us a comfortably soft orange carpet.

At guitar pool, we share solitude with a lone peaceful lady. We discover a new spring a few feet from the original feeder. She explains that it had just appeared one day a couple of months back.

We sit quietly. She slips in with us. She lies back, floating. Her face and breasts are the only pieces left not submerged. She lays there for quite some time, in absolute peace. I look over to see if she is still breathing.

We hear voices. They are speaking softly down the trail in the distance. Someone is coming. As they approach, our companion raises up her head and smiles pushing her hair back behind her head. “That was amazing,” she says. “I couldn’t hear them coming, I just sensed their presence.” It makes perfect sense to me.

A couple arrives; they explore the pool next to us, chat and go back down the trail.

Returning to our belongings, we take photos of the seasonal difference in the vegetation.

Always, our visits have been Fall and Spring. This drought ridden winterized place is very different. The green is replaced by browns, oranges, reds and black to grey.

Where flowers once grew in deep green beds like a Biblical rendering of Eden, there are only dry dormant remains.

We begin to take photos to document the difference.

The Same Place Last Spring

There has been a DJ, Don Titmus, at poolside. We return as it is ending. There is of course more soaking and another swim. Probably twenty people are gathered about the pool. Children play on rubber rafts and swim with joy.

Time to Party:

We decide to head over to the party for the evening. We find festive clothing in bags in the trunk. We dress and prepare standing next to the car and then make the 40 minute drive.

There are several vehicles out front and a potluck is spread out on the kitchen table. I have brought my guitar. There is a bass and keyboard and a banjo. Jumbays, a tambourine and shakers are sitting around for anyone to join in.

After dinner, the three local musicians pick up and begin to play some fun old tunes. We join in. I’m pleased to find that they are playing some pieces that I know in familiar keys and I pick up my guitar. I learn a couple of new songs. We dance. This feels so down home, natural, making our own music, sitting talking and dancing.

We discover that several of these locals visit the hot springs regularly.


The yurt is warm and extremely comfy. We awaken late from a sound sleep. The tall ribbed ceiling in its rustic flair is very pleasant.

I throw back the covers and proceed out the door in a denim shirt and flip-flops for morning duties. The shirt soon is found to be of no use. I quickly realize that this wonderful day will have nothing to do with clothes. We are soon off to return to the hot springs and to make the most of the weather.

Part #2: Our further explorations on a hike and continued hot spring leisure will be posted in a few days.



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One thought on “A Valentine and Eden 2018: Trip report

  1. quels bonheurs de partager des instants aussi beaux


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