“Try it with Tabby” is a weekly article chronicling the adventures of Tabitha Bower as she searches for out-of-the-ordinary and budget-friendly activities for Boise State students.
This week’s “Try it with Tabby” may only serve as a reminder to those of you who are versed in the Idaho hot springs scene, or, if you are an outsider like myself, could be a helpful “what not to do” when making a hot springs trip.
So here it is, a tale of epic failure. A sad story of a plan gone wrong due to sheer lack of planning and that evil word we all know so well: procrastination.
It was 11 p.m. on Saturday night when the idea of heading up to the Skinny Dipper Hot Spring, a natural hot spring off of Highway 55 en route to McCall, was realized.
In true impromptu nature, I ditched my high heels for some sneakers, grabbed a swimsuit, a friend, towels and beverages and began the voyage north.
Nearly 15 minutes into the normally 40-minute trip on 55, a plow/sand truck slowly lingered along the road ahead. Shortly after, a street-side sign flashed a winter driving conditions warning. This all should have served as an obvious moment of foreshadowing, however, the clear sky and dry roads clouded our judgment. Lesson one: do not assume, because the weather is fair in Boise, it will follow suit on Highway 55. Do your research; consult the weather app on your phone.
Like a curtain quickly lowering from the sky, a sheet of snow appeared from nowhere and the roads rapidly became a slippery mess of snow and ice. At this point, it would have made sense, seeing as the vehicle we were riding in was a small sports car, to decide to turn back. But did we? No.
Fifty terrifying minutes later, we came upon the hot spring. The pull off, which looked like a death trap for our small mode of transportation, begged us to turn back. But did we? No. Instead, we got stuck in the snow, luckily only briefly.
So there we stood, staring at the up-hill hike ahead of us at nearly half past midnight, the trail covered in a thick coat of snow and ice. Here comes lesson two: hot springing is not a quick from-car to-pool adventure. You have to hike, and in the case of Skinny Dipper, about 20 minutes up the side of a mountain.
After weighing the options, this is the point in the trip when we finally conceded, gave up and turned back. And I will be happy to admit we should have made this decision earlier in the voyage, as the hour-long trek back was nothing less of terrifying.
Last bit of advice: make someone else drive so you can catch a cat nap on the way back to Boise. And if you plan to be productive the next day, try leaving Boise before 11 p.m.
Stay tuned next week for my second installment of the hot springs-themed “Try it with Tabby,” where I will, hopefully, have a hot springs story to share.