We have been camped this weekend at the mineral springs with a pair of friends as our guests. It is their first time here. Having had a short exploratory hike, we have decided to take a mineralized mud bath together.
The mud is supposed to be therapeutic and fun. We have seen others slogging back looking quite happy with their situation. It is our turn.
We arrive ready at the mud tub. There is a man sitting looking at us with an extensive pile of mud on his head. In addition to what might constitute a hat of mud, his entirety is covered but for blue eyes and white teeth. He might as well be a bearded statue come to life. I have to wonder if that stuff will ever come out.
This is a mineralized water trench that moves slowly enough to saturate the mud at the bottom and the edges. The water is extremely hot in the trench. The hot temperature hasn’t deterred a woman who is nearly crotch deep in the waters. Her legs are pink where they have been submerged, and flesh colored above. She is applying mud to her body. There is an old cast iron bathtub sitting next to the stream where muck from the trench is deposited and then usually applied.
I offer to take the shovel from her after she scoops out the slather and then I deposit it in the tub. We do this five, or six times, while the others watch and wait.
With a pile of the slime in the tub, she gets out and we all begin the process of slapping the hot green mineral laden medicine onto our bodies. A handful of the hot clay oozing through my fingers goes on surprisingly well and quickly. One scoop allows my hand to slide up the contours of my body and cover it just that quick. It is slippery, but there is also a grit in the mix, which is a little scratchy.
Attitudes are lively and enthusiastic. I’m touching up my front, debating if I really want this in my pubic hair and genitals. Our backs still need to get done. DF volunteers to do my backside. Our lady friend quickly offers to do DF’s. No problem there, she answers yes, and we are in a line playfully sliming each other with efficiency.
After this surprisingly short process, there is little to do, except figure a way to not use our dirty hands to slime our cameras. There is also a serious discussion toward the decision, “Do we wear the shoes?”
We begin to notice how the warm mud as it cools doesn’t insulate. The evaporation is making it chilly. Very soon, we are heading to bask in the warmth of the sun.
We make our way the through the grounds looking like an invasion of zombies or creatures from a black lagoon. The grit is between our legs and it rubs, creating a strange gait, arms extended out and bull legged. We make our way back to the swimming pool.
There is a sense of silliness among us, one of those, “I can’t believe that I’m…” moments.
At the pool, we lay down in a row on the cement slap. Already the less thick spots are drying, creating a camouflage pattern on us. We’re ready for guerrilla war we quip. What we do look like are several bodies that appear to have been recently pulled out of the lake after a few days.
Our friend Don helps out taking a group picture. We’re having fun.
We seeming corpses lie there learning through bodily sensations. As it dries, the mud begins to pull skin and create wrinkle lines. Some of it begins to feel slightly itchy. We have been enjoying our costumes, but it is time to make our way down to the other side of the pool to the cleanup waterfall. We are sure that the mud is seeping/leeching its healthful goodness into our pores.
In a naked line we waddle down the path laughing and posing for pictures.
In turn, we make our way down the slippery slope into the drainage for the pool. There is a spillway for the overflow. The mud comes off rapidly in the torrent of water. There is little scrubbing necessary. Our friend submerges himself completely, disappearing in the flow of the fall.
We are refreshed. There is a slippery sheen left on our skin.
Three of us decide to swim back, a smiling threesome doing gentle frog kicks, until we arrive in the shallows.
The next step in the process is the hot tub. And further relaxation. We discover that there is still a shine to us when we get out of the water. We are glossy like we are still wet, or as if we have been buttered in oil.
Everyone is sad to leave. We just don’t want to.
Okay… Maybe there might be some over exaggeration in one of the photos.