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Hot Springs Time Machine: our love affair with Hot Springs

By Jaymee and Michelle

The Hot Springs Time Machine series is a unique collaboration between Jaymee and Michelle recapping their travel and adventures visiting hot springs across the globe.

Michelle: My love affair with Hot Springs started many years ago. My boyfriend at the time, who would become my husband. Said he wanted to take me on a weekend getaway but the destination would be a surprise. Now, I loathe surprises. As a child, I would alway sneak into my parents’ closet to peek at my Christmas presents and skip to the end of mystery books to find out ‘who done it.’ So I was not very happy about this situation, I begged him to tell me but he held strong. I did convince him to tell me some details so I knew what to pack. He told me to pack a swimsuit but warm clothes and we were not going anywhere south. I was perplexed but played along and away we went. We took off heading North, we live in Utah so that meant we were headed somewhere colder and considering it was November, that was going to be very cold! I was still confused. We drove a few hours into Idaho and turned off the Highway to a tiny town named Lava Hot Springs. The mystery was over!

I immediately fell in love with Lava Hot Springs. The town was built surrounding natural hot springs that flow through the area, nestled in a Lava Rock canyon. It was a hot spot for mining back in the day as well as the hot springs bringing visitors from miles around,  its old Main Street reflects a once-bustling western town and not much has changed. It was like stepping back in time.

 We checked into our hotel, changed into our suits and robes and headed across the street to the Hot Pots, as they’re referred to. It felt almost scandalous walking down Main in your robes and flip flops but the streets are lined with others doing the same. It was my first time at a hot spring, and as I took my first dip into the hot mineral esque waters, I knew it wouldn’t be my last. 

After getting used to the heat, which varies in temperature depending on which pool you are in, I allowed myself to slink away into the mystical water, which allows easy floating, as the natural high mineral content supports your body, feeling like you are floating on a cloud. A hot cloud, mind you.We stayed until our fingers were prunes and went again the next morning as soon as they opened to get a last soak in. 

After arriving home later, I noticed my skin and body felt nourished and smooth. The pools are known to have curative properties and I believe they do. We returned to Lava every year after that, sometime twice a year. I’ll always carry the connection to the pools and my memory of that first experience as I continue to travel and soak in newly discovered Hot Springs around the world.

Jaymee: Lava Hot Springs was a childhood favorite. We lived close enough for a few years when my family lived in Idaho to go to Lava Hot Springs that we would make a trek there every once in a while and we loved it!! They had great pools for kids and a slide that felt epic to us. Especially the time we brought my grandparents and my grandma screamed not in scared way, but in a joyous way the entire way down the slide. Embarrassing my favorite uncle, it was a blast and a story we still tell at family gatherings. 

As I got older, I thought about going back to lava, but didn’t make the trek until my solo trip last year. However, on the trip it was a new awakening for me and hot springs. I loved the renewal I felt in the hot springs. The water is hot, so hot that you really can’t just hang out in it for hours in the summer, the winter is different – you want to hang out in it for hours. Each of those seasons actually brings a unique experience. The last time I went to Lava it was still warm out, but that was actually part of the experience. I could soak in the water and then sit on the rock steps with just my feet in the water and look up at the sky. It was mentally so renewing as it was physically. After this trip, I realized that hot springs were a reset for me and I wanted to figure out how I could continue to travel to find hot springs all over. 

Fast forward to 2019. Jaymee and I were both feeling stressed out by work, kids and life and needed a getaway. We kicked around the idea of going South to warmer weather but didn’t want to spend too much time driving. We considered going to Lava but that was too far as well. Then it hit me, Crystal Hot Springs which is only an hour away from Salt Lake City. We also decided to make a weekend of it and stay the night in Logan, which is a quaint University town, not too far from Crystal Hot Springs.

We checked into our hotel in Logan, packed our bags and headed to the hot spring, just at sunset. Crystal Hot Springs had just undergone a remodel, including new changing rooms, and pools with rock features and waterfalls. Our soak that evening was relaxing and fun, pretty pretty crowded as that it tends to be a popular date night event for the locals. We decided to make a second trip back in the morning on our way home. So we cut our soak a little short. On our way out, we stopped to look at the photos that donned the clubhouse hallway, which featured 50 hot springs all around the world. We really started to think about what a cool natural phenomena hot springs are and how much we enjoy visiting them.

Our return trip the next morning was perfect. We arrived right at the opening and hardly anyone else was there. There was a crisp morning chill that made entering the water an inviting treat. We soaked for hours, letting our tension and stress float away in the waters. That’s when we started to discuss how we could incorporate more trips to hot springs and how they made us feel. We even decided to start an Instagram account to document our trips. 

At one point, Michelle and I went to the largest pool and we were just floating there for an amount of time that afterward we both felt unable to define and as I was laying there I thought about how floating in the water transported me probably more mentally, but also physically as the water cradled me. And that is when I came up with the name for our Instagram account to be HotSpringsTimeMachine. The first, because of the feeling of being transported mentally and physically. The second, because we are not serious all of the time and touch inappropriate at times. Balance is something Michelle and I talk about a lot and the name was a perfect combination of our passion, Hot Springs, and our love of laughter, a comedy movie. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on any Hot Springs trips right now, we are making plans to visit more and keep our dream going.

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