September 21, 2012

Hike into Bagby Hot Springs and overt nudity begs the question: do you feed those things?

Several years ago, before it was rebuilt, Shifty, Bones and I hiked into Bagby Hot Springs out of curiosity more than anything. The place is named for an old prospector and miner who spent a lot of time in the area. We had heard all the stories – wild parties with naked people running around the woods. It was time we experienced this place for ourselves.

The springs are located 1.5 miles from the trailhead and near the border of the Bull of the Woods Wilderness. The trail into the springs follows the Hot Springs Fork of the Collawash River.
When we arrived it was mid morning, and all the bathtubs in which folks soak up the warmth of waters flowing from the earth's interior were occupied. It appeared as though some dude had spent the night in one of the bathtubs, passed out, sleeping off the prior night's hoopla. The place was actually quite peaceful, not at all like the stories we had heard, but it was still morning. Had we stayed until the evening, we might have experienced an entirely different environment.

After spotting a hot tub with no one in it, we put on our swimsuits and hopped in.

It was so relaxing I could have drowned. But then, after about 20 minutes of absolute harmony between me and extremely hot water, a man and woman appeared from the trail and proceeded to edge our way. This was not looking good. Every other bath and hot tub was full of people. The three of us had spread ourselves evenly around our tub, but it was obvious there was plenty of room left over. The question was whether the intruders would wait for an empty tub or want to slip into our slice of heaven?
Soon they were standing next to our tub, taking off their backpacks. Then, the words I was dreading, came from the woman's mouth, "Do you mind if we join you?"
We looked at each other, and then one of my comrades said, "No, go ahead."
To our surprise (after all the stories we had heard about the place, it shouldn't have shocked us) they proceeded to strip down to their birthday suits and climbed in. It wasn't even as if they tried to hide anything, either. They both took their sweet time lifting a leg, turning to expose their butts to us before lifting their other leg and turning again to sink into the water. It was not a pretty sight.
Each of us had the look of, "What the hell are these two thinking."In all actuality, it was us three who were likely out of our element. We were probably the only one's clothed in the entire area. What did we expect, the Playboy mansion in the middle of the sticks. We got what we deserved, two folks, obviously believing there are no exceptions to "the body is beautiful" maxim, unabashedly crawling into the tub, exhibiting just about every orfice.

It was one thing to let them crawl into the tub, it was altogether another to have to watch them do it naked. We weren't about to stick around and watch this spectacle. The situation was, to put it mildly, awkward. Not wanting to be overtly rude, we made some small chit-chat for a few minutes and then exited the tub.
"Man, seeing her naked wasn't terrible," one of us said to the others as we hiked back down the trail. "But when she propped her arms up on the edge of the tub and it looked like she had a hamster in each armpit, that was just too much."