I tweak my back on a fairly regular basis. I blame a bike wreck from when I was 18. As I get older it takes less and less to make it flare up.
Before you jump all over pole dancing as the culprit, I must say that I have never hurt my back pole dancing. I’ve gotten sore from poling, but it’s usually something more extreme that makes it angry.
Like getting out of bed or petting kittens, or in this case lifting weights.
Because of the one-two punch of shooting pains down my leg and a seized neck, I begged off a backpacking trip with Marcia and entertained the thought of bailing out of our annual trip to Valley View Hotsprings, or as my friends call it, Booty View.
But my kids would be devastated if we didn’t go. Oh, and it’s a “clothing optional” AKA nudist hot spring.
Not everyone is butt naked but you have to be able to roll with naked campers, naked wood choppers, and yes, naked cooks.
This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and some read sexual deviance into naturists, but I don’t see it that way.
For one, there is nothing remotely sexy about nudist camps. It’s mostly aging hippies enjoying letting it all hang out, literally.
People don’t appear to be there to people watch, they are into soaking in the springs and being with friends and family.
Since when does nudity have to be the sole property of the young and beautiful?
Also, there is simply no finer cautionary tale against tattoos and piercings than seeing them on 70 year-old with a Prince Albert or a tramp stamp.
Take a good look, kids, because this could be you.
You get really good at making extreme eye contact and in the 13+ years I’ve been going nothing even remotely inappropriate has ever happened. It’s a family place.
With the nudist mindset comes a very nice camping ethic: no stereos blaring dubstep or death metal, no fireworks, no guns, no ATVs, no mobile phones, no drunkenness, and no obnoxious behavior to stand in the way of enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
I would much rather look at a naked person than deal with any of those things.
Several years ago the owners of Valley View, a privately owned hot spring, went through the arduous process of converting it into the Orient Land Trust in order to preserve its natural beauty for years to come. It is a zero-carbon footprint, off-the-grid establishment.
Anyway, I used to go naked (but not while cooking and setting up my tent because that’s weird) but as my kids get older (and I get uglier) I wear a suit during the day to keep me from getting turkey neck from all the sun.
Loony and I have been going to Booty View for years; I daresay we fell in love there. We went there when I pregnant with Testiclese (don’t hyperventilate, the water is no hotter than 99 degrees), we went with small children, we went with friends.
Before we had kids – when packing literally meant rolling up a robe around a t-shirt, underwear, toothbrush, a chocolate bar, a bottle of scotch, and picking up a pizza on the way – Valley View had the allure of carefreeness.
Then we had kids and suddenly camping became a huge ordeal. We camped with infants, toddlers, and a baby in the belly. It was nuts.
With my back hurting, I didn’t know if I could handle schlepping our tent, cots, sleeping bags, etc. down the path to our site. I hate wrestling the sleeping bags and thermarests back into their stuff sacks.
In other words, I couldn’t face it.
I’d never rented a cabin at Valley View but I told myself that if there was one available, I’d go. Huzzah!
I planned the easiest meals, tossed our towels and clothes into the car, threw in some bedding just in case (we didn’t need it) and away we went.
We got into the car and drove without thinking too much about it. It is such a gorgeous drive and after our routine 18 hour days on the road, the 4 hours to the San Luis Valley seemed like nothing.
It was beautiful.
I’m still figuring out how my panorama setting works on my camera. I got a good cackle out of this masterpiece.
I’ll admit to not enjoying Valley View as much since Loony and I had kids.
It was so much work and the kids were young and I felt alone and exhausted by the experience. This time felt different.
We’ve gone every year of the boys’ lives and they know the area so well that they jumped out of the car the second we arrived and visited all their favorite places: the swings, the “shrine,” the horses, the creek.
We unpacked in minutes and I reveled in not having to negotiate the communal kitchen and naked chefs.
The hot springs were wonderful, as usual.
Visitors routinely toss handfuls of marbles and semi-precious stones into the water to entertain children and adults alike.
They’ve added a couple heated pools (Valley View has a geothermal and hydroelectric power plant on-site) for hot soaking.
There is a large pool for swimming and diving.
The old Orient Mine is about a mile’s hike away. During the summer a colony of bachelor Brazilian Free Tail Bats leave each night to feed on pesky mosquitos. Watching them leave is a marvel.
It’s been a couple years since I’ve felt rested enough to do the hike rather than turning in early.
We hiked back in the dark and soaked in the pools until midnight with the kids. It was pure heaven.
Now we are home and it’s Find Your Desk night at the school.
I can’t believe summer is over. What a way to end it.