Idaho Hot Springs Pt. 3
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
In the morning I struggle to unzip the fly on my tent.. the zippers seem to be sticking for some reason. It hits me like a slap in the face when I realize what’s going on.
It snowed last night!
I’m shocked and grinning from ear to ear as I wander around in the still below freezing morning. All the rain has frozen so the doors on the jeep are frozen shut, the windshield has a thick layer of ice and the tent is covered in ice and snow. It’s a novelty, and I’m having fun with it, glad to be in high spirits.
I honestly thought I was done with winter for a long time so it’s a nice surprise.
I make a snowball and hurl it at the nearest tree. I retire a winner when it hits dead centre
I had hoped to make the hike into Bear Valley Hot Springs, but another road closure meant it was out of the question, so I continue hunting elsewhere. Back on the highway the Sawtooth Mountains jump out at me like they are alive. I’m not sure if it’s the fresh coat of snow, strange lighting or my cold altered brain, but I think these pictures capture it well.
First up for the day is Elkhorn Hot Spring, aka. The “Boat Box”. My guidebook mentions an all-important cold water feed which I can’t locate. The water feels waaaaay too hot and it’s snowing hard so I move on without a soak.
Basin Creek (Kem) Hot Spring is just a little down the road and sits between the highway and the river. A small amount of hot water feeds some natural rock pools right at river level. Again I can’t seem to find a ‘just right’ pool, so I move on.
Ample amounts of very hot water flow under the highway and feed several rock pools at Sunbeam Hot Springs. I’m eager for my first soak of the day and jump in without really testing the temperature of each pool. I’m a little disappointed to find this is another where the spring water is so hot and the river water so cold it’s difficult to find the sweet spot. I stay barely five minutes, not long enough to even warm up.
The snow is coming down hard now, so much so that driving is becoming a two-handed affair as the Jeep gets skittish around corners. I’m seriously weighing my options here… should I continue North to possibly the best hot spring in Idaho and across to Yellowstone or should I bail on the whole idea and jet South ASAP?
When it snows hard I want to drive South, when it clears a little, I want to continue North.
You know I’ll make the right decision
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