Sometimes it hits me - right here, right now is perfect...I forget all problems, even if just for a moment. I look around and I realize this is a little slice of heaven, life does not get better than this. I had a moment like this on our recent trip to New Mexico.
I am fortunate to have a husband who has a super natural knack for looking at a map and finding some pretty rad places in seemingly average not exciting locations and that is one of the things that make these trips for me, the unexpected treasures. I love seeing the things that are not really of interest to the general public. I am so thankful that he has a passion for seeking out these places as well, not to mention the skill to get us there. I love experiencing them with him, we often look at each other and laugh about how crazy cool a place is, and wonder to ourselves how we even stumbled upon it. Most often it is because we are super weirdos who like to be alone, so we keep trekking until we are pretty sure we will not have a chance for human interaction. We also have what I like to call "what’s around the corner fever." So we are always saying, "This is cool but let’s go a little further and see what’s there, we can always come back." Sometimes there is nothing mind-blowing up ahead and sometimes ( I would even say most of the time) there is something that will make us say, "WOW! So glad we didn’t stop at the last spot".
I am lucky to experience the places we come across. It’s funny though because as much as I can love a spot I don’t necessarily want to go back. It would, in a way, feel like time wasted that could be spent seeing new things, maybe this is all a part of the what’s around the corner fever? I want to keep experiencing new spots and chasing that wonder you get when you look out over your surroundings and just have to laugh because it’s that good.
Let me preface this story by saying, I am not a huge fan of the not so remote AZ hot springs I have experienced thus far in life, so I was a little less than thrilled when Tim said he wanted to hike to a hot spring on this trip, I was already picturing (or trying not to picture) who we would find at the hot springs but I tried to keep an open mind and if nothing else enjoy the hike.
When we started off on a dry arid plateau I did not expect what we would find below. We quickly dropped into a gorge, somewhere below I could hear water running. When we hit the river it was like a different world, it was lush and beautiful - shockingly we had the area all to ourselves. (I breathed a sigh of relief - no gross naked dudes!)
We searched around to find the actual hot springs which were hotter than I expected, I would guess around 103F. We tried out each “tub” and then decided to look a little further down the canyon before settling in (what’s around the corner fever!). As we crossed the river multiple times I was amazed at it’s pleasant temperature and when I found a place that had a perfectly sandy bottom I could not stop walking around, it felt so good! I thought to myself if I was going to design a river this is what I would want it to be like.
This is when I first felt that pang of perfection. It just kind of grabbed me and took me back. Woah...I told Tim this is my slice of heaven right here. (I think he thought I was a little too excited about the sandy bottom). The feeling deepened as I looked around standing in my sandy bottomed river with perfect temperature water (not to mention the clarity and color of the water) huge trees in a beautiful canyon with the man I love and we have it all to ourselves! How am I so lucky?! We continued down the canyon, mind still being blown at every turn. We finally decided to head back and enjoy the hot springs for a bit breaking out a cold beer we sunk into the relaxing warmth. When we got too hot it was time to dunk in the cooler river. I got my guts up and dunked (very refreshing after being in what felt like a Jacuzzi) and as I was standing there I became aware that my foot was oddly warm. Upon further investigation sure enough the river bed had hot water bubbling up from below in this spot. Which made for maybe the most pleasant river experience in the world. Cool refreshing with the perfect amount of warmth and as you dug deeper it got warmer. I know the people who frequent this area know about all of this but there was something so neat about discovering it for myself.
To me there is nothing better than finding myself enveloped in the right here right now - that is what exploring is all about.