There was no doubt that a melancholic sadness had enveloped me after Thanksgiving. The Covid pandemic had finally brought me to my breaking point. The stress of working in healthcare, the isolation and loneliness in every home and community, the bitter fighting and constant arguing of people’s differing points of view (both Political and Medical) had all culminated into my own personal meltdown. I missed my family, and the way the world used to be.

Castle Hot Springs, Arizona’s first luxury resort, was originally built in 1896. It burned down in the 1970’s but was restored and reopened in 2019. An oasis tucked away in the Bradshaw mountains just north of Phoenix, it sounded like exactly what I needed to be rejuvenated and ready for 2021, and to help me out of my current slump.

I find the dirt road past Lake Pleasant on a Friday evening, the sun setting just beyond the mountain range. A pack of wild burros fill the landscape, braying loudly as I slowly pass. One final turn and the resort comes into view….

An all inclusive luxury weekend was just the ticket I needed punched. Divine meals grown on site in their local organic garden. Accomodations that put all of your senses at ease, leaving all stress and worry behind.

I find my own private outdoor shower/tub that uses the water from the Hot Springs and the natural minerals within to soothe aching and tired muscles. I see my naked form reflecting off the glass door, and smile at how gravity is pulling my body downward. I’m too tired anymore to fight the natural progression of aging. The water relaxes me as the night sky illuminates with twinkling stars.

Morning comes, and with it I discover trails that can take one to the top of Chocolate Drop Mountain, and even further until one can see Lake Pleasant off in the distance. I try to spot bobcats in the Saguaro’s out here in the desert, but luck is not on my side today.

The natural Hot Springs themselves are a short hike up a canyon located at the back of the resort. Perhaps due to the pandemic, or maybe due to the new re-opening, but no one else is around as I get to the first of the three pools fed by the Hot Springs.

The first pool is too cold for me, although I’m sure it would have been perfect for anyone that doesn’t live in Arizona. Our bodies just adjust to temperatures differently. The second pool is more to my liking.

The third pool at the top of the canyon has a beautiful waterfall. I get on a floatie and soak in all of the healing goodness that I can get from Mother Nature and her wonderful bounty. It serves me well, both physically and mentally. I feel the sadness slowly go away.

Night time brings me amazing views of the Milky Way, normally harder to see in wintertime. Constellations and satellites float above me. I become centered again as I marvel in the true wonder of this planet we call Earth, and the Universe in which we all are a part of.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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