2019,  California,  Friends

Musings: Clothing Optional

That’s just the kind of Ride or Dies we are!

We’ll kinda. HAHA! Instead of gifts, we chose adventures. Gifts are great, but after over a decade of friendship, we’ve gotten each other most of the good stuff already. So, instead, we chose to spend time doing fun things AND usually eating too! 2018 would be no different, in a couple of ways. We knew there would be adventure AND it would be planned after the new year. While December is ideal, it really isn’t with holidays, work functions, and being busy in general. So, we opted for January when most events and obligations die down and our schedules align.

Hot springs have been on our list of ‘things to do’ for a while, so with the insistence of Trin, we pulled the trigger. Trin did the legwork in research and shared it with us. Wilbur Hot Springs seemed the most in line with pricing and what we wanted to experience. Originally, we were going to do an overnight stay, but I accidentally double booked the weekend and couldn’t get out of my other commitment, a boudoir shoot (don’t worry, blog post coming soon). Trin booked our day trip. We were a little confused if the booking + CC was charged or just a hold, but it ended up being to hold the reservation and we could pay individually when we arrived.

This place is hippy dippy! And we knew that before we even got there. BUT, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t get any more real when you arrive. Their website is super helpful, especially the What to Bring section. Things we knew beforehand:

  • Naturally occurring hot mineral springs
  • Clothing optional in baths/flumes
  • No restaurant, but full commercial-equipped kitchen available for use by all guests (day or extended stay)
  • Hiking
  • Bikes to use while on the property
  • Massages
  • Yoga
  • Mobile/technology detox
  • No phone or internet access
  • Don’t bring anything that requires charging
  • No gas stations near, so come prepared

If you’re interested, here are some quick details on the Day Use. You can pay $59 on weekdays or $65 on weekends, per person. Day use is from 10 AM to 5 PM and includes the hot springs, pool, sauna, and nature preserve. You have access to the kitchen and shared space, which they don’t call out. Also, call or email to make a reservation. Don’t just show up!

We all bundled in Black Beauty at 8 AM on a nice Sunday morning. We wanted to make sure we got the most out of the day pass, so we wanted to get there right when it opens at 10 AM. The good thing about our crew is we always overpack when it comes to food, so we had plenty of stuff for the day. We had arranged to bring things for ourselves but also snacks to share. We had SO much, it was laughable.

We may or may not have had a little mishap on the way there, but we survived and no one was hurt. Shaken for a quick second, but all was fine with everyone and my car. They may not trust me to drive for our next trip, but in case you are wondering…NO, I was not on my phone. Maps tells you to turn off the road, but it turns to gravel and looks kinda sketchy. You take it for a long time until maps tells you to turn left over a bridge. We stopped here because we were like 45 minutes early and it was pretty. We hopped out and snapped pics and took some silly timer pics that are hilarious! Also, others drove by crazy fast and dust flew everywhere. We still don’t know where they were going.

After all the pics, we drove on and made our way to WHS. To enter, you have to open a gate, which Krystle got out and did for all of us. Again, we were still really early. We drove the 10 mph speed limit until we reached the resort. As we approached, we could see the closed off area of the flume/pool area to the left, where I immediately saw nakedness! And by nakedness I mean buttcheeks! On the right was the main building and where we parked.

We wandered in. Taking off our outside shoes and putting on our inside slippers/shoes, per the directions. Or you could go barefoot or wear socks too. The receptionist area wasn’t open, so we wandered around the main building, which houses the kitchen, shared open space, and the enclosed veranda. Finally, the front desk opened up and we checked in and paid for the day. Just like a normal hotel/resort, they walked us through a map of the facility and told us all rules and whatnot.

We unloaded the car because you have to park your car about .2 of a mile away and use their communal bikes or walk to get back. We put our food in the day use fridges and left our clothes and belongings in the main entryway. There aren’t locks or cubbies, you just leave it all on a bench and hooks if you need. Hippies trust one another 😉

We decided to hike first, then take advantage of the water stuff. We talked about doing the meditation class, but I didn’t feel like doing it. They chose to opt out too. So we drove my car to the park area and then went off to hike the trail because it was in the same spot.

The hike is short but has plenty of interactive things to experience. I guess they consider this their nature preserve. They have a Fountain of Life geyser, Wishing Tree, an aquarian labyrinth, and a Memorial Wind Chime Park. When we got to the wind chimes we turned around, we wanted to make sure we got the most of the pools/flumes for the day.

My favorite thing was the wishing tree. I loved the idea of put a wish there and leaving it to manifest. And I later read, they leave them there all year and on NYE they take them all down and do a bonfire to release and transform the wishes. So cool! Also, seeing the variety in windchimes was interesting. The ponies were aggressive in a non-threatening way, but they wanted to get close. I kept my distance. Also, I learned what a labyrinth really was, so that was cool too. The terrain wasn’t rough, but the sun was out and we all got a little toasty in our layers of winter clothing. It was defintley more of a walk versus a hike.

We made our way back to the resort and we changed into our swimsuits. We definitely discussed the ‘clothing optional’ situation. If one of them would have done it, I would have. But I wasn’t going to do it solo. I’m much more hesitant to show my bottom bits, but I’m not as self-conscious to share my top lady bits. But I wasn’t jumping at the opportunity to run around naked. HAHA! I have no problem if others are naked. I did learn though that I want to challenge myself and try the clothing optional situation next time I’m at one of these places.

They have outdoor changing rooms and showers, which you have to take before you get in and you want to do after because of the smelly sulfur. They also have the cold plunge tub right here too. Surprisingly, I loved and tolerated going in this a bunch of times. I know its good for my body, but I was actually able to stand it with meditative breathing and focus. I was happy.

You cannot talk in certain areas, essentially in the flumes. The flumes are the three tub-like areas where the water progressively gets hotter – 100 degrees, 105 degrees, and then 109 degrees. They have other areas near the flumes where you can talk and a talking flume, but in this space, you are to remain quiet, which is really hard for us three.

They have a pool, but its a murky green water. The receptionist even warned us that even though it looks gross it is completely safe to use. How’s that for a welcome warning 😉 We all got in, but were very hesitant. You cannot see the bottom and it literaly looks like a green watery swamp without the alage or the creepy water creatures 😉 We were very hesitant the entire time, but we did it to say we tried it!

Absolutely no phones are supposed to be in this area. But I know people sneak them in. I don’t want naked pics of people. I did want to snap pics of us, but I accepted it wasn’t going to happen. When we were trying to figure out the time, one lady pulled out her phone and told us. HAHA! I brought a book to read, which I did a little bit. I actually fell asleep reading it and got some tan lines.

We bounced around all the different options, besides the sauna, until we were hungry. Then we showered and headed back to the resort. I say resort, but it doesn’t feel right. We grabbed our food and found a lovely spot on the enclosed veranda that had a nice view of the property. We brought so much food it was funny. Like ridiculous! We ate until we were all too stuffed to move. Krystle was getting a bad headache from the smell of the sulfur. We didn’t really have a plan and were kinda indecisive.

There are no words to describe the smell of the hot springs. The sulfur smells like rotten eggs, but is so soothing with its warm temperature and quietness. Its hard to explain how such a gross smell can be relaxing, but oddly it is. You can’t get around the smell, so you make it work.

Trin and I decided to go back and enjoy the flumes, while Krystle wanted to rest and nap in the shared area. So we headed back again and enjoyed the quiet flumes, the talking flume, and the cold plunge tub one more time.

Does nakedness bother you? It doesn’t bother me, but there is an unspoken etiquette when you are at a place like this. For starters, do not blatantly stare at people. HAHA! Obviously right. Its a lot easier said than done. Since we are usually clothed in our day-to-day interactions with other humans whom we don’t know, it is easy to interact. But strip them of their clothes and you have to navigate common conversation differently. And even when you don’t intend on look at others, it just happens. You cannot avoid it.

If you know the three of us, you know exactly how hard it was to be quiet. We laugh a lot, but here we couldn’t. We stifled our laughs and tried to whisper, but failed miserably. But we had a blast. For me, being surrounded by nakedness is not a problem at all. But it did elicit some giggles and sign language with our eyes.

Everyone here was beyond respectful. There was even a teenager there too. Before you get upset — she was wearing a bathing suit and we shouldn’t judge someones parenting decisions. But there are so many different walks of life that visit here. Well, mostly Caucasian people. Krystle and I were one of the very few brown/ethnic people here. We didn’t feel like we stood out, but I definitely took a mental note of the difference.

We all agreed the mini digital detox was nice. Yes, forced, but nice to just leave our phones hidden and enjoy the moment with one another. We are pretty good at doing that when we are together, but we could always be better. This time we were forced to be better and we were happier for it.

I’m so grateful to Nordstrom for bring us all together. Red Bull and Vega kept the friendship strong, but really, its been our own special bond together that keeps us going. It’s a tripod friendship I wouldn’t trade for the world. They are my family. My real family sees them as a family, and for that, I am a lucky gal. We are all so different, it really compliments our friendship and no matter how busy life gets, we always have our annual holiday outing. Always.

As we left, WHS had one more cute litte antecdote to send us off with a spiritual goodbye.

If you’re looking to change it up and try something new, this is a great idea. It’s a little pricey and will take you out of your comfort zone, but I swear it will be worth it. The sulfur smell will haunt you though. I am trying to remember if my skin was extremely refreshed the next few days, but I don’t remember it standing out too much. Regardless, the nature of it all had to be good for our mind, body, and soul…that I”m sure of!

Clothing is optional, friendship is not!


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