Oh, the glory of sleeping in. Crusoe was already at work in his remote van office by the time I even cracked an eye. When I wandered down to the lobby in search of the black morning nectar, I spotted Just Jim sitting in the lobby. We had a nice chat, trading injury woes (his ankle was giving him big trouble) and dissecting the previous section: the excitement, the fear, the overwhelm of trying to figure out new skills in the middle of needing them. “I think I wouldn’t do that section again, at least not for a long time,” mused Just Jim. “Hmm,” I said. “I already want to do it again. Now that I’ve actually had a little time to process it, reflect on it, I really want another chance to see if I can do it better. Maybe do it with a little more grace.”
Back in the room we three not-currently-employed grazed on leftover pizza and all the snacks before heading out in search of the mythical free hot springs of Pagosa. Although it took a bit of wandering and asking, we located them only one block from the Quality Inn. Yes! The pools- the Hippy Dip as they were affectionally known- were below the highway bridge, rocked off on the edge of the San Juan River which was running high and turbid from the snow melting off the mountains above. The free hot soakers were actually filled by a PVC pipe that funneled the overflow from the main (and pay-to-enter) hot springs of the classy resort across the road – we were soaking in their hot tubs’ drain water. “The effluent of the affluent!” we joked dramatically, not that we actually cared. The water was hot, the river hypnotic, shade draped from a beautiful tree, everyone in the pools vibed mellow and happy, and we were off our feet. True relaxation.
After several hours of soaking and dodging an overly-friendly but harmless snake, my brother joined us until the shade shifted and the sun became unbearable- the high today would be the mid-90s, unfathomable to me at 7000 feet. He had a place in mind for lunch, so we oozed our way back to the hotel, all reeking of sulphur, and piled into his van for Thai takeout. Parked outside of the laundromat, we slurped veggie-rich noodles and dealt out cards while our clothes churned. When I went in to switch them to the drier, the gray haired owner asked what in the world we were doing sitting in a vehicle on this hot of a day. “Playing pinochle!” I told him. His face softened into a smile. “Pinochle! Now I haven’t thought about that game in a long time. When I was young the old neighbor woman would come babysit me and my siblings. She would make us play pinochle with her, and bet a nickel a game!”
Back to the hotel room and its roaring, blasting air conditioner, where the desire for a nap became overwhelming. Crusoe returned to the Hippy Dip, unfazed by the crushing sun, and Calypso kindly offered to do a Reiki session on me, which I didn’t really know anything about, but at this point I was open to absolutely anything that may help my body gain some healing. Why not? It couldn’t hurt. Maybe all the swelling was stuck energy!
Crusoe and Calypso left in the late afternoon to go camping after he surprised her with a couples’ massage, and I strolled uptown. Colorful travertine curtains decorated where the hot water plunged down the banks of the San Juan, the celebrity river of the town, and beautiful arrangements of flowers sprouted from boxes and borders. My destination was the Natural Grocers, where I collected bread, cheese, smoked oysters, green and blue smoothies, apples, chocolate cookies, kombucha, and ice cream. Oh lordy would we feast tonight! As I was checking out, Crusoe and Calypso stumbled in, looking for their camping dinner and appearing as if they had been fully gelatinized during their massage – a promising sign, as Prana and I had massages scheduled for tomorrow. They gave me a ride back to the Quality accommodations, then departed for whatever camping area they had found.
Prana and I showered again, then draggled our picnic-laden table in front of the air conditioner. We ate and ate until we were well beyond satisfied, then called it an early night.