I pulled into the Liard Hotsprings Lodge just as it was getting dark. I was on my way from Whitehorse to Fort Nelson. There was a lot of wildlife on the highway, so I was glad I decided not to drive through the Muncho Lake area in the dark. There was moose, but there were a lot of bison, too. Neither would be very fun to hit.
I checked into the lodge, ate a meal and walked out to the hotsprings in the dark.
And it was dark. The moon wasn't up and there were a few clouds in the sky. As I walked, I tried to listen for movement in the bush, but it was hard to hear anything over the booming of my footsteps on the boardwalk.
I had the hotsprings to myself. All to myself. I stripped down to my bathing suit and hobbled in my bare feet, over the ice, to the water. The water scorched my feet as I eased my way in. It felt good.
It was so quiet. I tried to see the stars, but the hotsprings were cloaked in fog. Or did it count as steam?
When my ears got cold, I submerged my head, and when I lifted my head out of the water, I let my hair freeze. I could hear only two things: the sound of the rigs in the distance gearing down as they descended the highway across the river and the tumbling of the water over the falls at the end of the pool.
I rolled onto my back and tried to float, but my feet kept pulling me down. As I stared up, a slight breeze dispersed the fog around the springs. Now I could see the stars in the sky and it seemed like I could see them rotating. Then, I contemplated "perspective" and how people once thought that the stars and the sun revolved around the earth. After all, that's what it looked like to them. Then, I wondered about what else we hold as fact today that might be horribly wrong.
The fog returned and light flashed through it like sheet lightening. Someone with a flashlight was walking down the path. I wasn't alone any more, but at least it was still quiet.
When I was sufficiently wrinkled, I left.
I returned the next morning to get pruny again before hitting the road. I had the place to myself the whole time, this time.
I love the hotsprings in the winter; this is how they were meant to be experienced.