As you may or may not know, this week’s “Try it with Tabby” is a part two, a follow up on a hot-spring attempt gone bad. And let me start this story with one word: success. Yes, I actually made it to the hot springs this week, and jumped in.
Though not any more prepared than last week, luck erred in my favor and brought me face-to-face with Skinny Dipper hot spring.
Lesson learned from last week: do not begin the trip to Skinny Dipper, a natural hot spring about 50 minutes outside of Boise en route to McCall, after 11 p.m. This time, after enlisting a partner in crime (literally, this will come into play later), the trip to the springs began nearly six hours earlier than the previous failed attempt.
Only half way into the trip, it came to my attention that, after writing an entire article about my lack of preparation leading to imminent failure, I was even less prepared than the week prior. Not only had I forgotten a flashlight, but I also left behind the knife, which over the course of the week I was, on more than one occasion, warned to upgrade to a more “protective weapon.”
That said, unlike last week, we arrived at the hot spring unscathed. With the last glimmer of daylight dissipating behind the mountains, steaming water greeted us, trickling from the side of a roadside pull off. This, of course, signaled me to believe the springs could not possibly be as far of a hike away as warned about. Wrong.
Twenty minutes into the upward, rock and slick dirt ridden hike, I made the mistake of looking down. Take it from a person who is deathly afraid of heights: don’t look down. While the ascent took my breath away, I didn’t realize just how much our elevation was increasing prior to this downward glare. But I moved on, pushing through the fear.
Luckily, or not so, darkness quickly caught up with us. Here is where the disclaimer comes into play. Signs were clearly posted marking the spring’s closure between sunset and sunrise, signs I overtly ignored. There was no way I was planning another gas-guzzling trip out to Skinny Dipper.
I even ignored my fellow skinny-dippers, who we passed descending as we ascended, when they advised, “park rangers are giving $150 tickets if you get caught after dark.” These signs and warnings, however, are not the only reasons to avoid Skinny Dipper after nightfall.
The hike was nearly impossible, and downright dangerous, with the lack of natural light. Not to mention the feeling when you realize humans are not the main reason people warned you to carry a knife. Yes, the realization of wildlife kicked in at around the time we came upon the steaming springs.
The springs themselves though, while coupled with the cool and refreshing mountain air and twinkling stars, were worth the hike and any associated panic. With only a hint of sulfur-smell, slipping into the hot springs eased the aches from the hike up, and getting out was a task not easily accomplished, but easier than the trek back down the mountain.
So here is my advice: go to Skinny Dipper, but do it in the light of day. After all, what fun is letting this spring live up to its namesake if you can’t even see?