“My teeth are chattering,” I realize with a shiver.
Granted, I’m in a bikini, dripping wet, outside, so… not exactly dressed for the weather. I’m doing that thing where you run on your tiptoes — as if your heels touching the ground is what would actually make you cold, not wearing a bathing suit in 40-degree weather. Moving like this, I reach the counter of a wooden, shack-like structure, and order a round of drinks, shifting my weight from my toes to my heels, back and forth, in that odd dance of the cold, wet person that looks very similar to having to pee.
Drinks in hand, I race back to my group, place them on the edge of the pool, and slide back into the water. I’m at a hot spring, so this brings immediate relief. Steam envelops me and I allow myself to sink further down until I’m submerged up to my chin. Next, I dip fully below the surface.
Yeah, that’s the stuff. Underwater, I can just barely hear snatches of music. As I come up for air, I turn toward the bluegrass band playing on a stage above the water, encased in a heated bubble, jamming out. The stars are brighter here than at home in the city, and they’re better than any light show you’d see at a festival — endless points of light, puncturing the pitch black Montana sky, punctuated by music.
Epic is probably the most overused word of our modern century. But this moment feels epic. Sorry, not sorry. The hot spring is thick with people but it never feels crowded. There’s an intimacy to the experience that’s intoxicating.