May 16, 2004
From the parking lot, we walked down a wooden boardwalk that is surrounded on both sides by thawed marshlands and streams that surprisingly enough had tiny fish swimming in them. Here and there we saw many signs that warned us to be on the lookout for bears and other wildlife however being what Native Alaskans call "Cheechakos" we had no idea that the bears were most likely hibernating so we looked anxiously into the forest for any other signs of life. Thankfully we were alone.
When it finally seemed as if we had simply walked right past the hot springs as the boardwalk seemed to continue on eternally, we reached the area of the hot springs where the smell of sulfur assaulted our noises. We looked warily at the calm, steaming waters from the deck that was built above and decided, mostly because of the cold wind blowing past us that we should just go ahead and take a dip. We both hurriedly moved to the locker rooms that, by the way, are completely open to the air yet totally private from the outside, changed into our bathing suits while yelling at each other through the wall to tell each other how cold we were. Even more quickly did we run into the hot springs where my husband gallantly allowed me to descend the stairs first into the wonderful warmth that surrounded my body.
Unlike a Jacuzzi or hot tub, I have to admit that a hot spring warms you so thoroughly and completely as well as making your skin feel like satin and your joints and muscles feel loose and flexible. We sat for a good 10 minutes while we warmed up on one of the stone benches provided in the center of the spring and then got curious and walked around in the waist high waters with small soft pebbles below our feet. Here and there, we felt small currents of warm, hot, and then suddenly very cold water, which totally invigorated the both of us. After around 30 minutes, we decided, rather disappointedly, that we should get out and get back on the road.
From journal North to Alaska!