It is not often that I am the youngest person present at a gathering of the general public, but at the Saratoga Springs, Wyoming hot springs known as Hobo Pool, I was.
As I entered the hot pool area, there were two older men with Santa-like beards, both in length and whiteness. Maybe that is why it is called Hobo Pool. They looked the part.
Shortly after I lowered my lithe, youthful body into the supposedly healing waters, three more men, one bald and two white-haired ones, joined us at the pool. They all knew each other. I was the odd man out. Eventually, however, I made friends with them.
One got out of the pocket of his robe a thermometer and pronounced that the temperature of the pool was 107.9 degrees, which is a good conversation starter. I learned that that they all come almost every day. I learned about the underground hot springs piped into the pool. I learned about the history of the Indians discovering it near the North Platte River. I learned about the source of the name, Hobo Pool, due to the railroad tracks going by, and hobos being aware of the free spa experience in that bend of the river. I learned that these hot natural springs full of minerals and smelling of sulfur seemed to offer health benefits. My bald friend said that he moved to Saratoga eleven years ago and used the pool every day. He said he had not been ill since, whereas previously he had often been sick. It sounded like the biblical Pool of Bethesda. or the pool at Lourdes.
I then witnessed proof of the healing power of the pool. None of the men were wearing glasses, yet when Miss Sugar appeared, they all gave every indication that their vision was clear.
You see, Miss Sugar had forgotten to pack her swimsuit, unlike me. After I paid the admission fee for myself, Miss Sugar explained her predicament to the gatekeeper. He actually waived the admission fee for her and allowed her in for free, which offended my sense of fairness. “Hey, Sugar,” I said, “can’t you read?” “The sign says no nude bathing.”
My new friends turned on me. To a man, they vehemently declared that they did not mind and voted to waive the rule. Rules are made to be broken, according to them.
I, an attorney, disagreed. I strongly felt that she should have paid the fee like the rest of us, so I paid the guy.
What was Miss Sugar trying to pull? A fee is a fee.
P.S. Most of what I write about is totally true. Miss Sugar has asked me to confess that the part I wrote about her, above, is not exactly accurate. The part about her forgetting her suit is true. The part about her coming to the pool anyway is not true. I was just funnin’ about. But, seriously, did you just want to read about me and five old guys sitting in a hot springs pool?
P.P.S. There is no admission fee. It is open every hour of every day for free. Check it out.
P.P.P.S. There IS a sign that says, “No alcohol. No profanity. No nude swimming.” That about covers it. So, don’t forget your swimsuit, forget the booze though, and watch your mouth.