In the pure and golden years I lived in Bozeman, MT the most most pure and golden thing I did was trek over the Bozeman pass on Interstate 90 before dawn in a 1980’s Subaru with 6 people crammed inside. Exiting in Livingston and rolling down through Paradise Valley on the black ice in the dark, all for the glory of watching the sunrise over the Absarokas while sunk to my nose, naked in the Boiling River.

In the coldest months of winter we would rise at 4:30 A:M whenever we had the gas money to go. I am certain that if I lived by that water, and soaked every day, I would live forever. A sunrise trip to the Boiling river was my last official act in Montana before moving to Portland to wear stupid shirts and carry terra cotta around in the rain.

I thought of that time and place while loading my kayak onto the van in the driveway yesterday. The thermometer read 108, which would be a scalding, but ideal soaking temperature if you were in the water surrounded by rocks covered in translucent water ice and the Wapiti grazed on the hillsides above you, scratching at frozen mud for a scrap of grass.

72 degrees is the ideal soaking temperature in this part of the world. Blue Hole is a short paddle down from the Wacissa headwaters. Still sunk to my nose, no longer naked, and watching the sun go down instead of up, I nonetheless feel very close to that steaming river thousands of miles away.


9 Responses to Hydropathy

  1. I have always said that the fact there are hot springs in the cold parts of the world and cold springs in the hot part of the world is almost enough to make me believe in a semi-benevolent deity.

  2. there was a moment, a bunch of us went to a hot-water spring in MT. i think it was a 1030pm sunset in the summer. you led the way to find the hot spring in the middle of a farmer’s field. the weather wasn’t cold, but the water was no less soul-nourishing after some long hikes. was that the same place?

  3. Hmmm. Makes me wonder why you left Bozeman for Portland. I forget. And if I remember right, your first job there was on a BIKE, usually in the rain. Ah, youth. 🙂

  4. We (Joe, Darin, Matt, Matt, Herman, Giles, Cousin Todd, and myself) moved to Portland because we visited for a weekend and there were girls there, unlike MANtana.

  5. Bi-curious, I think they called themselves, yes??

    I like this post, Brother Juancho. It makes me long for extreme temperature and springs. Which sounds so much more fascinating from the comfort of my SoCal weather. When you come out here again, we will visit the Jacumba Hot Springs in the hot desert. And then we will eat hot bratwurst, since it is owned by some Germans. Doesn’t that sound relaxing?

  6. And finish off the day at a tanning salon. Wait! This was about Montana and those wonderful springs, and then about Oregon and girls. (I remember a story about a Japanese one who was hot after you?) Why not just come on down to the Yucatan and dip in Mom’s pleasantly warmish pool in her backyard, sipping a margarita or chugging a Corona? Just too boring, I suppose. (But there are some pretty women there.)