Here’s parts I and II:
Another Day Brings….
The winds increase the next day, which is not as the forecast foretold. Our little tent had been luffing like a sail throughout the night. The flexible arched poles would flex and bend, so much that it caused the walls to cower and nudge my thick goose down camping quilt.
We remain bundled to peak out of the tent. We remain bundled to eat breakfast. We wander around bundled in layers of clothing to mediate. We wonder, “What’s with all of the clothes?”
We are not the only ones surprised by the turn of events. The conglomerations of different clothing give the culture a flavor reminiscent of incongruent Burningman costuming.
I walk by the swimming pool. There are white caps on the leeward side. Water is jumping out of the pool. There is only one thing to do, get into the hot water and get warm.
Geronimo Pool is hotter. It’s nestled in a small forest of very old tamarisk trees. Their huge branches have fallen and been reborn with upward shoots. The effect is a wall, a windbreak. The pool is rustic and much smaller than the boathouse pool. I like the cozy natural rock.
I step onto the first step, grasping the metal handrail. My cold feet not only sting, they burn in the water, as if boiling. As the rest of this body stays pinned outside, my feet get used to their new world. There has to be a compromise between waiting out in the cold and waiting to adjust to the heat.
As quickly as possible, but with reluctance, I work my way into the mineral soup. Soon, I step down covering my shins and calves, nearly to my knees. I gasp, and my jaw tightens, as I breathe in quickly. I hear a grimace and moan. It is half pain and half pleasure that are springing from my mouth. I lower my body to sit down on the broad step, that I just made my way across.
DF is behind me. I’m not a very encouraging sight. We find that we are slow to slip to our necks. Our chests don’t match our pink lower parts.
Eventually, we make the plunge complete. The hot water literally takes our breath away for a moment and then longer. It is almost too much, but we are not standing and shivering in that incessant wind. When we again get out, usually within 15 minutes of tolerance, we have some of the body core’s resistance against the chill.
There is an alternative. This last year, Geronimo pool was opened up to two sides and two reclining rocks were added to each side. It is now popular to lounge in these spots, propped up with legs just covered by the water. We get out, sitting near the edge until we can’t stand the cold. Then we get back in and stay until it feels like a bit too much. Over and over.
There are more people here today. We are all on the same page. Some wander up to Guitar Pool, which is not quite as hot, but it has the wind crashing through. With nothing to stop it, coming directly out of the flat creosote desert, it is a frigid blast.
There has been overcast. By now, in the afternoon, there is some blue sky and the sun beams through.
The small grassy glade gets a golden glow and warms in the windbreak.
After soaking in the more or less, 110F water, we are spent. We crawl out and then stumble over to the sunbeams to gather our first sun tanning of the trip. We place our towels on the spongy grass. We both fall asleep there, slayed, naked at peace.
We awaken, we snack and relax in the sun.
More Lovely Torture:
Of a matter of course, we eventually find ourselves back in the hot waters of Geronimo Pool. As we sit, four naked bodies wander off toward the hot mud. They take nothing with them as they cross the bridge through the meadow. I know that the wind is still cold. It is howling through the property outside of this small forest enclosure. To wash off, they will have to journey from the mud pack to the far end of the pool which takes at least ten to fifteen minutes. They will then have to come all the way back here for their coverings and belongings. “Do they know what they are getting themselves into? It’s coo-old out there!”
After a while, we see those mud beings coming back one after the other, barefoot all over in the howling wind chill. They wander up the hill to a shower. The water there is cold and barely drips out. It is said that the hot and cold is good for a body, but I don’t understand their extreme self-torture. Eventually, I’m pleased to see that they survived still smiling, as they once again join us in the healing waters.