When Nicole Kidman got pregnant at 41, she wondered if swimming in the Australian Outback contributed to her sudden fertility. Is there such a thing as fertility waters? Awhile back, I met with a holistic practitioner who suggested that floating in the Dead Sea may alter the chemical imbalance of my cervical mucus, boosting fertility. I actually remember thinking, “Gee, maybe Ron and I should book a vacation to see if it works.” We didn’t go, but I love the idea of the curative power of water.
Water is healing. One of the most popular Psalms in the Bible, Psalm 23, talks about how God leads us by quiet waters to restore our souls. Since ancient times, people have traveled to hot springs for their mineral-rich benefits. Bathing in warm waters of the Blue Lagoon in Iceland is reputed to help with psoriasis, thanks to the high levels of silica and sulfur. Salt soaks relieve arthritis. Research by Dr. Jack Raglin and Dr. Bruce Becker shows 25 minutes of relaxing in 102-degree water reduces anxiety.
A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon soaking in hot springs by the San Juan River in Colorado.
The springs I visited were commercially developed. If you’re up for an adventure, you can hike out into the wilderness in search of primitive hot springs. Ron and I did that one summer – we squished into the pool with these other hikers.
Because hot springs are formed when the earth’s fault lines combine with underground water and magma, most are out west where such geothermal areas lie, says Marjorie Gersh-Young in her book Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Southwest and her companion book Hot Springs and Hot Pools of the Northwest.
Wanna give primitive hot springs a try? Gersh-Young recommended these hikes in New Mexico and California:
New Mexico ~ New Mexico is a hot bed of hot springs. A visit to Jordan Hot Springs in the Gila National Forest will take you on an 8-mile, river-crossing excursion, and hikers claim the scenery is worth it. There are commercially developed red rock hot springs in the town of Jemez Springs, but head a few miles north for a wilder treat where you can enjoy McCauley Hot Springs, several pools and a waterfall at the end of the 2-mile hike, San Antonio Hot Springs, set in the woods of the Santa Fe National Forest, or Spence Hot Springs, sandy-bottom pools a short hop from a pull-out area on the side of State Highway 4.
California ~ For night-soakers, Buckeye Hot Spring in the Toiyabe National Forest commonly has visitors who light candles which flicker against a cave-like overhang. For hard core outdoor enthusiasts, Big Sur’s Sykes Hot Spring requires a 10-mile hike into the Ventura Wilderness. Pitch a tent at nearby Sykes or Pine Ridge campgrounds. Mammoth has a series of springs east of the town of Mammoth Lakes. Or check out Deep Creek Hot Springs in the San Bernardino National Forest.
Idaho Backcountry ~ With 9.3 million acres of roadless forest and over one hundred natural hot springs, Idaho is a soaker seeker’s dream. Josh Laughtland, better known as the Hot Springs Guy, maintains the website IdahoHotSprings.com where he directs visitors to treks and soaks while educating them on the environment. His favorites? Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in Clearwater National Forest, a 1-mile hike to three soaking pools set in lush forest, Bear Valley Hot Springs, a 3-mile hike with a river ford to two springs, and Goldbug Hot Springs, a strenuous uphill 2-mile hike where you’ll find mountain soaking at its finest.
Eastern soaks ~ You can find hot springs in Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, but thanks to commercial development, the most natural you’re going to get out east is North Carolina’s Hot Springs Resort & Spa. There, you can camp along the French Broad River and then relax in pools set on wood decks that are filled with natural mineral water that’s piped in a spring.
Taking a hike into the wilderness in search of primitive hot springs was one of the most fun dates Ron and I have had. If you head out this fall in search of hot springs, tread gently and pack out anything you take into the forest. And who knows? You may wind up pregnant.
About Jenny Rough
Jenny Rough is a lawyer-turned-writer. Visit her on the web at www.jennyrough.com