Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Soaking My Head

Hippocrates Was A Very Smart Guy

Those of you who have my hikingforhope calling cards know that I have a couple of sayings that I rotate on them, including one from Grandma Whitney (from back in 2008 when I was getting ready to climb Mt. Whitney). Lately, I've added one from Hippocrates that expresses my hikingforhope sentiment: "Walking is man's best medicine."

Hippocrates also
wrote about the healing aspect of water, and especially believed in balneotherapy. As I've always been open-minded on this journey (as long as what's being proposed "does no harm"), one of the things I've done is seek out natural mineral hot springs in which to soak my body.

I also have read that
hyperthermia helps the radiation do its job. So having just done Cyberknife and having at least 6 wk ahead of me during which the radiation will continue ablating cancerous cells, I was eager to SOAK my sore, aching, tired body in some GOOD mineral hot springs. If I was lacking any minerals that were causing the body aches, my skin is my largest "organ" and the fastest way to soak up what I need.

I know of many springs, but my wanderlust has me yearning to see new sights and I owe a trip to my German hiking buddy, as she kindly took me and dropped me in the desert hot springs not too long ago. So I found a springs I've always wanted to check out on the coast -- 104 deg. Perfect for soaking my head!

We threw our gear into Big Blue II late Friday, went and kidnapped my hiking buddy (with her permission so we wouldn't break any federal laws), and headed off for a weekend of soaking bliss. Since it's still so hard for me to write, I'll let the pictures tell most of the story...

The campsite was just wide enough for our tent.

Olympic-sized pool in which my cohorts indulged themselves.

I also skipped the water slides.

104 deg of sulphur-smelling, stress-reducing, muscle-noodling bliss!

After soaking until the sun exposure combined with my chemos became a problem, we headed back to our camp to build a fire and roast some bratwursts. I took my lunch down to the open field (the nonhookup RV slots were empty) and ate in the warmth of the sun, then wandered around looking at the wildflowers beginning to pop out. Just walking is tough exercise for me as I have been experiencing bad muscle spasms and weakness in both legs in addition to instability.

A beautiful day to just sit and enjoy while eating my lunch.

Wildflowers are starting to pop. We saw many coastal hills
starting to show bright orange poppies from top to bottom.

DH and my hiking buddy dealt with our fire and lunch makings while I changed into warmer clothes for a trip up the coast to enjoy the scenery and show my hiking buddy the elephant seals. It's past the seal pupping season, but there's always a few still hanging around this time of year.

Listen to that wind! That's why I wore the warm clothes!

No problem telling which are the males!
Check out his elephant-like proboscis (schnozz).

You can tell which one is the pup from this season; it's still wrinkly from a lack of blubber.

Oh, so that's why they're called flippers!

We went as far north as the old lighthouse (still in service as a military facility) north of Hearst Castle before turning around and making our way back to the hot springs RV resort. We stopped along the way both going and returning.

Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, since 1875.

We walked around and enjoyed the quaintness of Cambria.

Morro Bay.

The ride back to camp.

By the time we made it back to camp, the sun was behind the hills. DH volunteered to get the dinner fire started whilst we went off to have a lovely evening soak in the hot springs. With the sun now off the pool, I didn't have to worry about the rash from the photosensitive chemotherapy getting any worse.

We enjoyed an excellent dinner of applewood bacon-wrapped steak, corn on the cob, and garlic potatoes all done over the fire. Total cost? $10! Do we know how to live well low-dough, or what?

We turned in early that night; with an 11 a.m. checkout, we would have to start packing as soon as we got up.

The next morning was gloomy and gray, perfect weather for visiting the coast in
winter. We packed up and headed down to Pismo beach, to show our hiking buddy the monarch butterflies that migrate there each winter. (I'd wanted to go last October, but couldn't due to brain mets/treatment.) Sadly, we were too late to see them this season, but we made a pact to come back again this fall or winter.

Before we turned Big Blue toward home, there was one last thing to do. I came to stick my toes in the ocean for my sister's birthday. So that's just what DH and I did.

The ride home was so relaxing, our bodies limp from the healing soaking as we sang along with the tunes. We even saw a deer, though we didn't get a photograph. And even with the time change (Spring forward!), we were still home by 4:30 p.m. It was an excellent weekend, and an excellent first road trip for me since Seattle.

P. S.
Want to learn more what this life is like for us pioneers? I think Suzanne D. captured very well both what it's like to be behind on everything (I'm now 9 years behind here at home!) and what it's like to deal with the brain mets. (I often tease my doctors that the brain mets symptoms have gone "from a two- to a four-margarita level"!)

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