Someone out there could make a bundle of money writing a guidebook for the older woman (like me) who wants a bit of adventure but who is not interested in killing herself in the process.
One of my nieces just posted a blog entry about a seven-day hike she and a friend took up Mt. Kilimanjaro. As I read her description, I pictured them almost sprinting up the mountain. I was put in mind of the way people play through at a golf course when she described how they passed other hikers and left them far behind. I am starting to wonder if most guide books are written by people like her.
We middle-aged, adventure seeking women require a guidebook that tells it like it is. Let me elaborate – the other day we did a hike up to Watson Falls – the highest waterfall in Oregon. It was to be a .3 of a mile hike to a viewing bridge with an elevation of 250 ft. over that distance (facts, by the way, you find out only in the parking lot) Several guidebooks described this as an easy walk– do not be deceived – this is not an easy walk. Though I must admit, it was well worth the effort. All I’m saying here is that we need accurate information.
Still on the topic of a realistic guidebook – we wanted to explore the Umpqua River Hot Springs – according to some sources an easy .3 of a mile (why is it always an easy .3 of a mile?) walk from the parking lot. An outdoor, rustic and undeveloped spring – a true wilderness hot springs. I was resolved to push my comfort envelope out a bit by going along with the idea of exploring this hot spring.
I love hot springs – the type where I pay to get in and once inside I am greeted with pretty pools of steaming water. I read through the information we had on the springs and the material was very clear in stating that people should be prepared to wear bathing suits – well for God’s sake – that’s obvious – right?
After a few wrong turns and stopping to study the map we located the forest service road that would take us to the springs and arrived to be confronted by the following sign.
We ran into an older couple in the parking lot who had camped out the night before and had already enjoyed the springs a few times. The woman told Bruce, wearing what I imagine was a pitying smile as she looked in my direction (OK – ya, ya, ya – she was probably smiling nicely – I admit to being overly uptight by this time – refer back to the nudity sign), that the hike up to the hot springs was a bit of a scramble. I’ll say – it looked almost perpendicular to me. She naturally made her way up the incline like a mountain goat – no doubt quite prepared to deal with the nudity issue like it was an everyday occurrence. It is times like this that I wonder if I am really suited for adventuresome, holiday travel.
The next day found us in Ashland and very close to the Jackson Wells Mineral Pools. The place is quite beautiful – nestled among tall pines – my kind of hot springs. Imagine my shock when I get there and see a large sign on the wall that reads – Clothing Optional starts at 7:30pm! People of Oregon – what have you got against bathing suits? Thankfully we had got there with a good hour and a half to spare before the arrival of the clothing optional crowd. We had a wonderful time.
Now, I’m going to just go out on a limb here and describe Jackson Wells as a new age sort of place. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for people being themselves. If you are a person who talks in a hushed tone with a startling number of ooohs and aaaahs thrown into your conversation – then I say, go for it. If you are a person given to going into great detail on the subject of crystals, the things your true heart tells you to do and how your aura is pulsing today – well – more power to you. If you are the kind of person who feels the need to twist your body into Circe de Solei type movements over and under the spa waters of the small hot pool you are sharing with at least a dozen other people – what can I say? You gotta be you. If you want to spend your time carefully scooping up each and every bug from the huge swimming pool and throwing it over the high wall while proclaiming that this bug should go in peace – it’s your life. I’ve sure got nothing against any of these people – but for some reason (all about me, of course) I was hard pressed not to double over laughing most of the time. I controlled myself by focusing on the older lady in a Myrna Lloyd type pink bathing cap who took up one corner of the pool and simply closed her eyes. She had to have been at least eight and the serenity on her face as she soaked up the pleasure of the hot mineral water was quite beautiful.
Loving the holiday while bemoaning the need for a guidebook that tells me what I need to know. Still being my good old judgemental and observant self. What more could a writer ask for?