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It's a Miracle!

Hot Springs, I Mean

Article by Louis Katz

Photography by Louis Katz

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

I've always loved hot springs, ever since I was a little boy. My parents used to take us to Desert Hot Springs, near Palm Springs in California. Desert Hot Springs was the Chevy to Palm Springs's Cadillac, but I cherished the memories of different pools with varying temperatures, and how good the hot water felt when it was cold outside. By cold, I mean California cold, which isn't all that cold, even in the winter. I went back with a group of friends almost right after I got my driver's license. Nostalgia sure smells good, even as a teenager. I remember the palm trees swaying in the wind and even the waitress's boyfriend who threatened me for calling his girlfriend out on that hamburger that was supposed to be plain but wasn’t. I avoided that spa for a while, not wanting to run into the boyfriend, but eventually, I returned.

So when Penny suggested we go to Miracle Hot Springs with Boise’s Lifetime and Leisure program, I was all for it. The City of Boise offers various trips like the one to Miracle Hot Springs. Some of the trips are ambitious—think Scotland or Alaska. But there are many trips and activities closer to home, not just the hot springs. They offer local river adventures, theater outings, picnics, winery tours, and cheese tastings. They even have an event called Shoofly-Oolites at the Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology. I'm not kidding!

If you want to participate in the Lifetime and Leisure program, you’ll have to lie about your age, as it’s an exclusive group of individuals no younger than 62. Bring your ID; you don't look old enough.

Onto Miracle Hot Springs. We piled onto the bus at who-knows-what-time. It was light out and Idaho cold, not that wimpy California cold. Maybe not THAT cold—it was already late March. The high was somewhere around 48°F, which feels kind of mild now that we've lived here for nine months. To Idaho’s credit, we still got snow in April, but as I mentioned, hot springs day was mild.

Our path took us through a scenic route somewhere around Hagerman. I thought for sure we were lost. We saw old houses, farm animals, rivers, creeks, and Lord knows what else. By some miracle, we ended up at Miracle Hot Springs. We piled out of the bus and waited for available changing rooms. And then we piled into the water. All those Desert Hot Springs trips came rushing back. This is heaven.

There are multiple pools of varying temperatures and depths, some in the shade, some in the sun. Bring sunscreen if you're worried. Our guide was a young woman named Chelsea, who was nearly born on a yacht on the way to the Marshall Islands. She grew up in the Marshalls, so naturally, she now lives in Boise. Although ours was an older group, the Miracle crowd ranges from 1 to 100 years old. It's fun being smack dab on the older side of the middle, neither the oldest nor the youngest. Pruning up in the water helps me forget about my non-life-threatening health problems.

You're probably wondering if you should join us on one of these trips sometime. If you like to relax and clear your mind, I think you should. Nobody got lost, and we all soaked in a whole bunch of water and sunshine. We felt like a million bucks. And then we came home, and I got to write about it. Can you think of a better waste of your time? I can't.

The beauty of hot springs lies in their ability to transport you to a state of relaxation and nostalgia. Whether it's the familiar warmth of Desert Hot Springs or the new adventure of Miracle Hot Springs, the experience is always rejuvenating. The City of Boise's Lifetime and Leisure program offers a fantastic opportunity to explore these treasures with like-minded individuals. The sense of community and shared joy in these trips is unparalleled.

If you're contemplating joining one of these adventures, my advice is simple: do it. The benefits of relaxation, nostalgia, and camaraderie far outweigh any initial hesitations. Plus, the memories you create will be priceless, just like those I hold from my childhood and now, from our recent trip to Miracle Hot Springs.

Hot springs have a unique charm that has always captivated me. The transition from Desert Hot Springs to Miracle Hot Springs has been a delightful journey, filled with warmth, relaxation, and cherished memories. Boise's Lifetime and Leisure program has added a new dimension to this experience, offering well-organized trips that cater to the spirit of relaxation. If you have the chance to immerse yourself in the soothing waters of a hot spring, take it. You won't regret the experience.


Tips for a Perfect Hot Springs Experience

Choose the Right Time:
Visit hot springs during weekdays to avoid crowds. Early mornings or late afternoons are usually quieter, allowing for a more serene experience.

Bring Essentials:
Pack your swimsuit, a towel, flip-flops, and sunscreen. Staying hydrated is crucial, so bring a water bottle.

Respect the Environment:
Follow the hot springs' rules. Avoid using soaps or shampoos in the natural pools to preserve the ecosystem.

Hydrate and Snack:
Soaking in hot springs can be dehydrating. Drink plenty of water and bring light snacks to keep your energy up.

Dress in Layers:
The weather can change quickly, especially in mountainous areas. Layered clothing ensures you're comfortable before and after your soak.

Be Mindful of Time:
Limit your time in the hot water to 15-20 minutes at a stretch to avoid overheating. Take breaks to cool down and enjoy the surroundings.

Engage with Locals:
Chat with fellow soakers or guides. They often have interesting stories and tips about the best spots and local history.

By following these tips, you can ensure a safe, enjoyable, and memorable hot springs adventure!


"Keep in mind, if you want to participate in the Lifetime and Leisure program, it’s an exclusive group of individuals no younger than 62."