Sunday, November 1, 2009

Runaway Day

Part of the Boysen Dam structure.
Coming out of one tunnel and headed for the next in line.

Railroad cars on a siding.

Red buttes.

Swinging bridge at Hot Springs state park.

Teepee Fountain, a formation of solidified minerals.

The road swoops down into the Wind River Canyon.

The Chimney Rock. It was about 4 in the afternoon on the journey home. Note how dark it seems in the depth of the steep narrow canyon.

Sunlight viewed ahead as framed by the canyon walls. Light glistens on the swift-moving river.

An old railroad trestle.
J. announced yesterday morning that we needed to "get away" for a few hours, leave the piled up concerns and unsolved issues of the past few weeks and take a "day off." He thought that a drive through the Wind River Canyon to the Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis would be a relaxing change. I was at that moment still in my warm down robe with Maisie, the little mom-cat, anchoring me to the sofa. I took my last sip of coffee, mulling the prospect.
The day had come on blue-skied and sunny, crisp and clear--all the things we had expected from October instead of dumped wet snow and bleak cold.
Tipping Maisie gently from my lap, I suggested to J. that he phone next door to see if our grandson D. would like to go. A trip to the hot springs means taking pool garb, towels and such, wearing comfortable clothes which don't mind being stuffed in a locker while one is in the water.
D. was routed from bed and appeared as we finished gathering our gear. The route to Thermopolis is the one which we last took early in October on a day of miserable sleet and fog. Once beyond the drab pokey town of Shoshoni, the scenery begins to change to red cliffs and the shimmer of the Boysen Resevoir before the roadway begins a 14 mile twisting plunge into the canyon.
As soon as we park outside one of the hot springs bathing establisments the whiff of sulpher is apparent. Walking inside, there is a moment of gasping at the stench of the water which resembles a combination of boiled cabbage, brimstone and something like wet dog. You pay a fee, get quarters for a locker and change in tiny curtained cubicles. The uneven tiled floor is blissfully warm under bare feet as you walk back through the changing area and past the indoor pool. Outside, large signs warning of "icy walks" are in place and my feet curl in shocked response to the change underfoot.
I am a non-swimmer and happy to huddle in the warm odorous water at the shallow end of the big outdoor pool. J. and D. venture a few strokes toward the deeper end. A family with small children gravitate toward the area with a slide, the children squealing.
On an upper level is a "hot tub" which two middle aged men have claimed. When they heave themselves out and pad back to the changing area we scurry up and submerge ourselves to the chins in steamy heat. The water in both pools is constantly flowing in, being refreshed. A "green man" sort of head belches water into the hot tub, spouts churn it out in force at shoulder level, a theraputic pummeling.
On the raised level of the hot tub, looking down at the pool we find it nearly impossible to tactfully avoid viewing the smooching of three young couples. Situated in three different corners of the pool, they seem oblivious that they are in a public place, although a large, blackly lettered sign in the passage between indoor and outdoor pools states explicitly: "PLEASE DO YOUR LOVING AT HOME!" The young woman nearest us leans back against her partner's arm, theatrically closing her eyes which are ringed in smeared mascara. The sunlight glances off the rings in her pierced eyebrow, her nose, her lip. The panting young man nibbles and paws. D. turns his back, I squint upward into the sun. J. snorts and mutters, "They need to go somewhere, GET IT DONE, and then maybe they could come back and enjoy the pool!"
We clamber out of the intense heat, and pad back down to the main pool which seems cool in contrast. A few more minutes and J. decides it is time to find lunch in town. We make our way, dripping, along the still shaded cement walk, past the indoor pool where the most avid pair of lovers have re-established themselves.
After lunch we returned to the park to drive through the winding roads and enjoy the wildlife.
Stay tuned for a visit to the bison herd!


  1. Tell J I agree with him about the pawing and smooching in the pool though, and I have to say that I really do NOT like piercings except in ears . . .

    Sounds like you certainly had a different day out - nearest we can offer in Britain is the thermal springs in Bath, which were appropriated by the Romans who promptly built a bath-house over the top!

  2. What amazing shots ...what a wonderful day away from it all.
    Laughed out loud at J's remark re the couple ...too true.