Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Sycamore Hot Springs used to be a crude place that rented out hot tubs among the trees on a hillside near Avila beach. One would climb rough trails up to the tubs, risking poison oak exposure. Certainly it was the place to go for a romantic getaway or after a party, but it was not luxury. Now it is.

Mary and Elaine made an appointment for me for a massage that included a half-hour soak in a hot tub there, yesterday afternoon. The weather was cool and it had rained earlier in the day. I arrived in plenty of time at the massage desk, noticing on the way through their little store that they sell not only bath oils and interesting little goodies, but also makeup and nice (expensive) clothing. I could imagine being a different person, one with money, picking up a little this or that or having my face made up with the extensive array of choices.

Sycamore Hot Springs is well-named, as it is set among sycamores and coast live oaks, a central coast lushness. The woman at the desk gave me a robe and towel and thongs and led me to the changing room. She said I could change there, make my way to my tub, and when the massage person was ready she would come up and knock on the door to the tub. There was a little information sheet at the desk that told me what to expect from the massage. So I was prepared and comfortable with what I was doing.

I had chosen a "high" tub, under the impression that the high ones were better. More private, quieter. Probably true but not so true I need to choose one of those again.  I donned my lovely white robe (NOT terry but a thick beautiful cotton, not heavy) in the changing room, a small room with beautiful sinks, a row of nice little lockers, two showers, a toilet. I forced my feet into the thong sandals, which were a bit smallish for my elephant feet. And started the climb. It took a bit of time to clilmb several sets of stairs to my tub. Next time, seriously, forget the climb. My knees didn't need it.

It was peaceful. All that I heard was the burble of the tub and the sounds of the trees overheard. The tub was enclosed by a wood fence with a small door but otherwise is outside. An occasional leaf fell into the tub. I made my way into it and sat, my head just above the water. How great to have it so deep! I brought a book with me and read it, not worrying much that it was getting a little wet. It got a little wetter when the rain came. Just a light shower, cool on my heated face, perfect.

As promised, the massage person trekked up and called to me, asked if I were ready to come down now. I said yes.She said she'd meet me in the waiting room.

I got out of the tub slowly. Because of the weakness of my knees, it is a challenge for me to use any tub without some kind of grab bars or other assistance. There are railings next to the tub and a grab bar on the deck, which I used to pull myself out. I dried myself off lightly and put on the robe and sandals. Covered the tub with its foam cover. Made my way back on the path. It was quiet as i went down, and I was able to enjoy the peace and beauty of green surrounding me, soaking it in as much as I could. I love to hike in places like this. It is a special treat to be able to sit so comfortably among the trees I love so much.

The massage was good. Gentle and thorough, and including reflexology,which felt good. It turned out that the massage person was Lynn, the coach of the swim team my daughter Mary was on when she was younger. When I told Mary this later, she said "You just can't get away, can you??" She remembered that she had arranged for my haircut and manicure last year, and it turned out to be with someone else I knew. It's true that we risk running into people again and again in all of our different lives when we live in small communities.

After the massage I took a shower. I just had to use that nice shower, and I wanted to wash the hot springs water from my hair. It didn't smell bad but I didn't know if it might later. Three or four other women came through while I was there, changing,using the toilet, and one of them remarked that the room just isn't big enough. I'd agree. It's perfect for one person or for two friends.

This resort is the more natural version of the Green Valley Ranch spa hotel, where I stayed in Henderson. Smaller, built into the beautiful surroundings, more intimate and quiet. I think if I were to go for an expensive hotel this is what I would look for rather than the luxury hotel with the people lounging by the kidney-shaped pool and the meat-centered restaurants. There is a pool at Sycamore Hot Springs, too, available only to hotel guests. It is large enough for laps and simply a rectangle.

I felt tired later, and went to bed at about eight. Which is why I'm up now. My sleep cycle is completely screwed up.

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