FOLLOW WILLY COSMO AS HE EXPLORES THE HEALING WATERS OF THE WORLD
JOE: Well, this place is about as far out as it gets. It felt like we were on one of Jupiters moons or something. A mostly barren, volcanic rocky landscape and then these giant, glorious turquoise blue waters surround the alien surroundings. Welcome to the Blue Lagoon, folks! Not only that but you check in and are given this wristband that becomes your locker key and your credit/money as you scan that at the cafe or bar area our in the water. Like I said, this place is a trip. Deemed one of the 25 wonders of the world, I can understand why it has been given this title. It is really quite an awesome place to visit. It's a bit pricey (50 Euros for basic entry) but well worth checking out just for the sheer uniqueness of the experience. There are a lot of cool areas to check out at this place, the geothermal water is heated at a few different areas in the giant pool so you can get different varying degrees of heated water depending where you are in the water. There are also a couple spots where you can take some of the natural forming silica mud that is this goopy white sludge that you can make into a mud mask that dries and cakes off like chalk. Definitely give that a shot when you're there. There are some saunas and a couple sun decks both inside and out and this neat little cave area that you can swim into that has a video and audio giving some of the history of the geothermal waters and Iceland as well.
We actually traveled to the Blue Lagoon twice on our trip as we had scheduled an overnight stay at the front and back side of our European honeymoon, we even went fancy and stayed at the Northern Light Inn which was right down the road from the Blue Lagoon on the tail end of our trip. It was a nice enough hotel but to be honest, it was WAY out of our normal price range and I think in the future we'd stay at a more affordable lodging. With that noted, it was nice enough and they have a nice restaurant in the Hotel called Max's that serves traditional local Icelandic fare and it was quite tasty (though also on the pricey side). The last morning we were on the island, before we were to head out to the airport for our flight back to the good ol' US of A, I took one of my early morning strolls and that was awesome. I spotted one of the coolest flowers I've ever seen in my life, made a rock structure on the edge of the lagoon waters, and didn't pass another person in the hour and a half I was out walking.
This is an amazing place to go and check out and as has been said above, if you find yourself so lucky as to be on the amazing and far out island of Iceland, you may want to go and see this place and experience it's waters for yourself. Though I do wish to conclude with the fact that upon further investigation as to what the island has to offer in the form of good soaking destinations, you can get way more bang for your buck at numerous other places both nearby and strewn throughout the entire island. So, that is something to consider. Now that we've been there, if and when we go back, we'll go to other places instead for sure.
JOE: I'll start with some sound advice. Don't plan a trip to Iceland and schedule a 9 hour horseback riding adventure that begins the hour after you arrive from your international flight and day and nights long journey to get there. This is an in hindsight bit of advice of course as we did just that. Our trip to Iceland - which was to be the start of our 30 day European honeymoon adventure - started early in the morning with Rachel and I taking a 15 minute Uber ride from our house to a Bolt Bus in downtown Portland, riding the Bolt Bus for 3 and a half hours to Seattle, hopping on the light rail for a 45 minute ride to SEA-TAC airport, and then a 7 hour flight to Reykjavik, from there it was a 20 minute bus ride to the bus station where the tour buses leave from, oh, and we missed our bus by 5 minutes, managed to get on a different tour bus thankfully a short while later that was going to drive by our destination, and then we got to where we were to start our 9 hour horse back adventure. Oh, did I mention roughly two weeks before this we found out Rachel was pregnant? She had felt fine and had no symptoms of morning sickness or anything like that before leaving on our trip, though that all changed basically the moment we got on those horses. We might be ambitious (crazy?) to a fault sometimes in our plans for adventures and the lengths we'll go to experience a new hot springs though this to date takes the cake by far. We did it though. Rachel did it. We made this the beginning of our honeymoon and it was one helluva a way to start things off.
Iceland is like one big volcanic mass of energy. It rests on the fault line of two continents (the North American & Eurasian) which is pretty incredible to ponder. It's the primary reason this island is so volcanic in its nature. The countries utilization of geothermal energy is quite impressive and while I have learned some of its history, I look forward to learning even more about their relationship to this natural energy source. Soaking in these geothermal waters is a part of the culture throughout the entire island as well and that is another aspect of Iceland and its people that make me feel like the folks living there are all my sisters and brothers from another mother, if you know what I mean. This was also the first foreign country other than Mexico or Canada that I had ever been to and I have to say, it was a pretty epic introduction and way to begin my worldly travels. 4 hours trotting through the mountains and valleys of Iceland was pretty surreal. Having our half way point in the trip be a simple lunch and a nice soak in this hot springs river was absolutely wonderful. I think it nearly saved Rachel's life as well, what a way to rejuvenate after such a long day and night of traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles, and then of course horses only to rest for a spell in some healing waters. We did then have to do the 4 hours horseback ride back from this incredible destination which I know was a doozy for my darling.
In all, this was an incredible adventure that was well worth doing. I highly recommend it and while it was a bit rough for Rach due to early pregnancy, I know she was amazed by this place as well. And speaking of early pregnancy, this was officially Willy Cosmo's first hot springs (in the womb, of course)! That's pretty cool to think about. What a way to start your life's journey, pre-birth that is. And on a health and safety note, soaking in hot tubs (or hot springs) while pregnant is a decision that should be made by each individual woman and should take in their particular health and circumstances. It is not recommended to soak in waters above 104 degrees Fahrenheit for any extended period of time and it is advisable to ask your healthcare provider what they would recommend given whatever your conditions may be. These waters weren't too hot and in all the places we visited after this, Rachel was careful not to soak in anything that could have been dangerous for her pregnancy.
In all, this was a day trip I'd recommend everyone who has the good fortune to visit Iceland take. It's kid friendly and it is considered an easy level of adventure for most all. The world renowned Icelandic Horses were great (though Rachel had a rougher ride due to her tender body in early pregnancy), they have an easy gait and shorter trot than most horses of the world. Once I got a feel for it, it was quite a pleasant ride. After we got done with this most ambitious kick-off to our trip, we headed to Reykjavik to an AirBnB we were staying at for the night, checked in, headed out to grab some dinner and took a light stroll to see some of the sights and then promptly went to bed for a solid 12 plus hours. The next day was another hot springs adventure and this time to one of the 25 wonders of the world, The Blue Lagoon! We actually spent the afternoon there (you can read about that by clicking here) and went straight to the airport afterwards to fly off to Milan for the next set of honeymoon adventures which included a few more hot springs along the way!
There are a couple of ways to get to this hot springs though the horseback tour is definitely a good way to go. The tour will pick you up from most places around the area at no additional cost and then you are on your way to a pretty darn special experience.
JOE: This place was pretty sweet. Not just Symes Hot Springs Hotel & Mineral Baths, but the whole little town of Hot Springs, Montana itself. It was a charming old historic feeling area and it had an amazing co-op grocery store in it, too! Rachel, Joy, and I just had to swing through this place on the tail end of our gigantic road trip adventure before we left Montana and I'm sure glad we did. Symes proudly boasts being one of the last surviving Grand Hotels of the old West and it really is just that. While we didn't stay the night, we did walk the grounds a bit and of course had a dip in their pool and hot soaking tub. This must have been a most welcome destination back in the days of cowboys and the wild, wild west.
The hotel offers 31 rooms and even has jacuzzi sweet that is fed by the mineral waters. There is also 15 cabins and a convenience apartments (not sure what that means?) as well. Their website also informs me that the bath wing still has four of the original clawfoot tubs in private stalls for bathing, too. There is a new two-person jetted tub and a jacuzzi steam that you can rent by the hour. They also have a day spa that features Swedish massage.And on top of that they have an annual Hot Springs Blues Festival which I bet is super fun. And while this little ranching community and town is pretty well off the beaten path, I would certainly recommend heading out to it if you were anywhere even remotely near there to soak yer bones in these healing waters. As I mentioned above, the town itself is pretty charming for its tiny size and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and selection of wholesome goods the co-op in town had. This visit for us only lasted about an hour and a half as we were just popping by to check it out and still had many hours of travel on the road towards home that day. It would be sweet to stay there for a night or two and have the opportunity to have stayed in one of the last "Grand Hotel's" of the old West! Willy Cosmo is going to dig this place one day, too...
Symes Hot Springs Hotel & Mineral Baths
209 Wall Street ~ PO Box 651
Hot Springs, Montana 59845
JOE: This was a fun one, we really dug Norris Hot Springs. Rachel, Joy and I had been on the road for a week already and covered some 2,000 miles of driving, not only that but we had also dealt with our car breaking down in the desert of Lost Hills, California in 104 degree pummeling heat which lead to us spending an unanticipated night in Bakersfield, CA on the 3rd of July. We were headed down to LA for Independence Day and had already enjoyed a nice soak at one of the four hot springs that was to be a part of this epic road trip adventure of ours at Stewart Mineral Springs near Shasta n' Weed, California. The other two were Crystal Hot Springs in Honeyville, Idaho and Symes Hot Springs in Hot Springs, Montana. I have to say, Norris Hot Springs is pretty great and I'd like to go back and visit there again sometime. We stayed the night there and so we were able to enjoy several soaks though I know we didn't really get a taste of all that this place has to offer. For one, they host live music in their geodesic dome that overlooks the soaking area there during the warm months on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and we were there mid week so we missed out on that. The other thing about that place is there are tons of fun activities within a half hour or so of it including rock climbing, kayaking, tubing, fishing, swimming, and touring caverns as well. We were on a pretty major road trip and only had the energy to soak and relax and enjoy a quality dinner at Norris but next time around, we'll check out a whole lot more!
This adventure was of course two years ago and I'm jogging my memory as I write about it and reflect on our stay there. I remember enjoying a delicious meal and a tasty locally brewed beer at the cafe/restaurant called the 50 Mile Grill, they call it that because a lot of their produce and most all of their food comes from their own gardens and local farms which is super sweet. They have a nice dining area and the setting of this little Hot Springs, as you can see above is really quite lovely. Rolling hills in a high desert area of Montana. The closest big city is Bozeman which is about a 40 minuted drive away. This is a very family friendly place and definitely worth checking out. The soaking pool is more warm than hot but the waters are still quite nice to soak in. They have floaty tubes to make your lounging while soaking a more enjoyable and relaxing experience. As you can see below, Rachel and Joy were kicking back doing just that.
This is going to be a fun place to visit with Willy Cosmo one day. I look very forward to it. He's going to love it. We sure did. After driving hundreds of miles almost every day of our trip, this was a very welcome resting place to soak our bones and relax with some good quality food and a very peaceful setting. We highly approve of Norris Hot Springs and encourage you to check out the Water of the Gods, too!
Norris Hot Springs, MT-84, Norris, MT 59745
JOE: Well this place was a trip and a half! Crystal Hot Springs is located about one hour north of Salt Lake City, Utah in the city of Honeyville. It proudly boasts having the highest mineral content of all Hot Springs and Mineral Springs in the continental United States. Here's the numbers on that:
This place was pretty awesome. It's not the kind of resort where you necessarily get all zen'd out (though you can, of course) as it is one of the most family friendly, laid back hot springs I've ever been to by far. It has two water slides for jimmy crickets, sake! With that said, the water is mighty potent, let me tell you. It's high mineral content makes it a produce a mild odor and makes you very buoyant which is fun because then you can really just float and lounge out while you soak. Joy absolutely loved the water slides and thankfully she was just old enough to enjoy them on her own. I went down with her a time or two and then she was brave enough to give it a whirl herself. It's definitely a great place to take the whole family.
This was a fun place to stay and I would recommend you do so if you're ever in the SLC area. They have several camping sites and RV spots to rent out as well and that is what we ended up doing. We camped out and the camping area is in a nice clearing above the grounds with a great view of the mountains and sunset, too. There's not much in the form of restaurants or any other activities close by though we did end up going to a bowling alley about 20 minutes drive from there for dinner the night we were there. That was fun, it was an air conditioned run of the mill bowling alley with pizza and beer and during that hot spell, it was a very welcome place to cool off and bowl.
In all this place was really quite enjoyable. We look forward to going back one day and bringing Willy Cosmo along, he's going to love it. It's casual, laid back, family friendly, and a whole lot of fun. The healing waters of this place are exceptional, with the highest mineral content in all of the US of A, you really are in for a treat when you visit Honeyville, Utah and go to Crystal Hot Springs.
Crystal Hot Springs
8215 UT-38, Honeyville, UT 84314
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Water of the Gods ~ Norris Hot Springs
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Crystal Hot Springs