Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024
Sunset, Kailua-Kona, The Big Island, Hawaii, March 11, 2024

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Up to Our Necks in Hot Water - Mon., October 15, 2018

We were up in time to have breakfast at 6:00 a.m. at the motel. Today we're going to historic Buckstaff Bathhouse for a 20-minute mineral bath and 20-minute massage combination. The bathhouse opens at 8:00 a.m. and we wanted to be there at 7:30 a.m. to get in line.

We arrived at 7:35 a.m. and there was not a line. It was raining and the chairs on the porch in front of Buckstaff were wet. A couple of buildings down was a nice covered porch with rocking chairs, so we waited over there. At 7:46, Susan said, I'm going to go over to Buckstaff to see if it's open. 

A couple of minutes later I got a text from her that not only was Buckstaff open  there were already people in line. I scurried over immediately and joined her in line. It took about ten minutes for the line ahead of us to move, but we were able to get in. 
The Buckstaff brochure
Hours, services, and rates.
Both of us thought a longer massage sounded real good, so we asked at the front desk if we could book for longer. Their response was that we would need to ask our massage therapists if they had time. 

From the lobby, a very old elevator (operated by a person) came down to get us when we rang the bell. The elevator operator took us up to the Ladies Bath Hall. We were shown to a dressing booth with a locker. After removing everything and locking my stuff in a locker, a female attendant came and wrapped me in a large white sheet. Then, we sat in a waiting area with some other women until our name was called. When I came out of the dressing booth in my sheet, I went up to Susan and said, "Toga! Toga! Toga!" It really reminded me of the toga party in the movie "Animal House." (No party and no alcohol, though.)

Once my name was called, another attendant took me to a private tub filled with 100-degree natural thermal mineral water direct from 47 protected hot springs. Upon first setting foot in the deep tub, it felt very hot. 

After a while, however, even though the thermometer showed 100 degrees, the water felt cooler. I guess your body gets used to it. While you're in the tub, the attendant brings two little cups of water for you to drink. I took a sip and it was almost as hot as the tub mineral water! It was colorless, scent-less, and flavorless.

Since I did not have my camera in the bath with me, I am using some of yesterday's photos from the Visitor Center (the old Fordyce Bathhouse). Our baths were different, but you get the idea...private rooms.

A little history from the brochure: "Located on Bathhouse Row, the Buckstaff Bathhouse, a National Historic Landmark, has been in continuous operation since 1912 and remains the only bathhouse providing the traditional bathing experience in Hot Springs National Park. 

"Over the years, thousands of visitors and local residents have found therapeutic healing and relief from various ailments using the thermal water for bathing at the Buckstaff Bathhouse while jug fountains provide the odorless and clean tasting thermal water for drinking.

"The thermal mineral water comes from 47 protected springs located along the lower slopes of Hot Springs Mountain. Maintaining an average 143 degrees at their source, with an average flow rate of 700,000 gallons per day, the water is cooled and used in our thermal mineral water baths at a maximum temperature of 100 degrees. Additionally, the Buckstaff uses the thermal mineral waters for  heating during the winter months."

After 20 minutes in the thermal mineral bath, the attendant wrapped me up in a clean, dry sheet. I was then placed on a cushioned lounger on my back. Very hot, wet towels were placed behind my back, on my legs and wrapped around my feet. To cool me down, the  attendant wrapped a cold towel around my head and gave me ice chips to suck on. I had the hot packs on for about 10-15 minutes. 

Next, it was into the vapor cabinet to get steamed. Again, the photo below is from the Fordyce. At the Buckstaff, the vapor cabinets were in individual "closets," but they had a half door that was left open so you didn't feel claustrophobic.
Vapor cabinets steam you until you perspire.
Supposedly, you only stay in the vapor cabinet about 3-5 minutes. I was in mine about ten minutes. Then, you move over to a Sitz bath. A Sitz bath is very warm water that you sit in up to your hips. It's hard to describe. You have to lower your bottom into it and your knees are higher than your hips. That was another five minutes.

After all the steam, you needed to wash the perspiration off your body, so it was into the needle-shower where you are surrounded from knees to neck with water jets that blast water on you from all sides. My attendant didn't get the shower very warm, so I had a coolish shower. 

Needle-shower at the Fordyce. (The
Buckstaff Bathhouse needle-showers had
way more jets.)
Another dry, clean sheet is wrapped around you after the needle-shower and then you lie down in a waiting area until your name is called for your massage. After all the other stuff we had done to us, the massage was rather anti-climactic. I'm used to having hour massages that are deep tissue. This massage was a gentle Swedish massage and only 20 minutes. Our massage therapists told us they didn't have time to do a longer massage. It was fine. I had been in there almost two hours by that time. Time to get on with our day!

Yesterday, we didn't have time to see the complete movie in the Visitor Center, so I went back to watch it. Susan, meanwhile, had finished her bathhouse experience about 1/2 hour before me, so she was out shopping. When she was done, she met me at the movie.

There was only one thing left to do in Hot Springs National Park...go to the tower on the mountain. We drove to the top of the mountain. Going up to the top of the tower was an option.

The tower was open today but it cost $8.00 to go to the top. It was cloudy, so we decided not to go up. We shopped in the gift store for postcards and a collectible pin and refrigerator magnet for me. Susan also got postcards.

Cut display outside the tower gift shop.
On the way down from the mountain, we saw a doe and two fawns. The doe and one fawn crossed the road in front of us. The second fawn was too busy eating, but I figured it would want to cross the road too. Sure enough, while we waited, the second fawn joined the rest of its family across the road. This was our wildlife moment for the day.

Hungry fawn.
Flora and "fawna."
From Hot Springs National Park, we drove six hours to Nashville, Tennessee. On the way to our motel, we stopped at Comfort Inn Music Row to sign in for our Capital Volksmarch tomorrow.

It rained all day, from the time we got up in the morning, until we got to Nashville. A good day for rain because we didn't have any outside activities planned.

Tomorrow, we walk a 10k in Nashville. I can't wait because I've never been there before. Susan Medlin had done a 7k with her husband a few years back. 

All for today.

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