The next day I had a relatively long day ahead. The weather was cloudy like the day before but it was not raining when I set out. Because of that I decided to go to the thermal basin once more. I would only add a little over a mile to the trip in doing so. The basin was beautifully misty when I arrived.
Throughout most of the hike it drizzled on and off. Since I did not have dinner the night prior and did not have a double breakfast as I had planned, I stopped to have a full meal mid trail.
I reached the point that the trail forked to a hot spring called Mr. Bubbles but I wanted to set up tent before going there so I continued. The only problem was that I was low on time. I made it about a mile further when I ran into the same group of 4 that I had seen the day prior. It was Ivan, Joel, Dimitri, and their guide. The guide recommended that I turn back because of time constraints to make sure I enjoyed the spring. They were also behind schedule and asked if they could crash at my site if they couldn’t make it to theirs. I told them that it was fine with me. I also listened to the local and headed back with all my gear. I got to Mr. Bubbles took off everything but my boxers and entered the spring. It was really tricky getting to the right temperature zone. The hot spring itself would burn you but Mr. Bubbles came together at a point where thermal water met cold river water. Finding that sweet spot took some time. I am not sure how many have experienced two extreme temperatures at once but it really screws up ones perception and understanding of what is happening to you. There were points where the cold water would come in toward the bottom and the top would be scorching hot. The cold water would make you think you were burning when in fact you weren’t. It made me jump spastically a couple of times. It’s hard to describe if you’ve never felt it but it really does mess with your sensory system.
I soaked all my aches for about 30 minutes until it started to drizzle and I saw the clouds coming. I put my clothes back on and continued at a fast pace. The rain came down hard and soaked the trail so much that at points the water was over my boot. I threw my headlamp on as it was very dark. At about 9pm I saw the wonderful sign of lights in a tent. I had reached my campsite! I quickly threw my food onto the bear pole and set up the tent as fast as I could. The bottom of the tent got completely wet despite my best efforts. I did my best not to transfer too much water inside and changed into semi dry clothes before getting into my soggy sleeping bag. Still despite the bad weather and being completely soaked, I was not as cold as the night prior. I guess sitting in Mr. Bubbles allowed me to get my temperature up high enough to sustain the conditions. The weather did not allow for an actual dinner so I had what was left of my Lara bar in my tent and was extremely happy I had stopped for a proper lunch, otherwise I would have been one starving hiker.