12.25.2016

Holiday Travels Part 4 - Frostburn

It's nighttime and I'm sitting naked outside on the stoop to the Swedish hot rock sauna behind Carl's mountain cabin as a cold dry alpine wind whips my body, restoring my elevated core body temperature to normal. I went four rounds in the steamy hot box behind me and my pores feel fully cleansed. Steam rolls off my hyperthermic skin into the brisk night air as the breeze pushes the wooden door of the sauna against my right leg. Moments ago, I rubbed handfuls of fluffy snow against the skin of my arms, legs, and head. Breathtaking. Authentically, you are supposed to go roll in a snow bank or jump in an ice hole in a pond to rapidly cool off, but I'm not quite that bold.

The outer door of the sauna leads to a lamp lit antechamber where there are towels, some small bottles of herbal essences, and assorted sauna related paraphernalia. The thicker inner door is closed, retaining the heat of the wood burning stove within the sauna room itself. The inner chamber is small, perhaps seating two comfortably on slatted wooden benches covered with a towel, since the bare surfaces border on too hot to touch directly. The wood burning stove resides in the corner of the chamber. It has a basin built into the top filled with rocks that are heated by the flames beneath. There is a wooden bucket of water on the bench, dosed with herbal essences and containing a wooden ladle that is used to splash the liquid onto the superheated rocks. Said liquid is rapidly converted to a cloud of hot steam that fills the small room and forces open the pores of any exposed human skin therein. Entrants to the sauna sweat themselves silly, taking periodic breaks to drink water and cool down in the cold outside the sauna as I am doing now.

I stare up at the starlight twinkling through the thin, clear Colorado air and think this counts as daily meditation. I'll log it later once I go inside.

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