Thursday, September 20, 2007

hot springs

The water that spills over the rims of most hot spring pools in the Rocky Mountains has come up from deep within the earth's crust, super-heated by its proximity to the magma that it passes on it's journey to the surface from unknown depths. Each spring has a distinct mineral content, sometimes overpowering, sometimes almost undetectable. Some are merely warm, others too hot to touch until mixed in lower pools with water from nearby streams or rivers.
Most of the springs occur next to waterways, usually in the bottoms of canyons or valleys. Although there are dozens of commercial resorts that have taken over the once-sacred pools, there are still plenty that are either too remote or are on public land and can only be found by those who know where to look.
I call the non-commercial springs 'naked-hippy-hot-springs' for obvious reasons. If you find company at one of these little-known spots, the said company is usually disrobed, and inclined to love nature and being a part of it. Wearing a bathing suit in one of these springs seems almost as odd as going naked into a public pool. There is something exhilirating and freeing about being in the buff in God's country. Even if there is a buck-naked flabby guy with glasses and an unkempt grey beard soaking quietly in the corner, there is no sense of voyerism. It about as unlike Club Med as one could imagine. The folks who frequent these places are gentle, peaceful, and usually introverted (which is nice, because people usually don't hike for an hour to engage in idle chit-chat).
The water that is healing and calming. Some might call it 'the earth's energy', others might explain that the mineral content and heat has beneficial qualities. Whatever it is, after a good soak (or two or three) it is rejuvinating and incredibly relaxing. The best time to soak is during the cold months, when the snow is falling and the steam rises up out of the pools to obscure the surrounding forest.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Luna is a mustang mare that I bought last winter as a project to keep me busy during the hardest, coldest, darkest time of year. She was captured from a feral herd by the BLM round-up program in a cold southern Wyoming region called the Red Desert when she was two. I bought her when she was four. She had been gentled and had bonded with humans, but was not 'broke' in any way- she hadn't even been taught to be lead. This mare absolutley loves humans, and prefers their company to that of other horses. She has been a challenge to train only because she sees herself as an independant thinker. She is gentle and forgiving, but stubborn as hell. She's only thrown me once, and we've been on many a trail ride, and have been working on basics in the arena and round pen using 'natural horsemanship' methods (speaking horse language using body posture and movement). In the past, I've owned thoroughbreds and trained classical english dressage, so going western with a cold blooded horse has been a new challenge. I actually prefer to ride her bareback with a rope halter or bosal more than anything.