Two days left of the year 2020. I’ve had a wonderful time with family in Salt Lake City over the past week, but the time has come to move on. I pack up the truck, say my last goodbyes, and hit the road. Barring any unpleasant weather I should arrive in Monroe in a few hours.

Almost a year ago I had made a reservation to stay in a cabin at a place called Mystic Hot Springs. I can’t recall how I find out about this place, as I had never heard of it during all of my years living in Utah. But with a hippie vibe, natural hot springs and a small town feeling in the mountains of Southern Utah, it seemed like it would be right up my alley.

I asked my family back then if they wanted to join me, but no one replied. Then the Covid pandemic happened, and everything was forgotten, even my reservation.

Monroe had a population of just over two thousand back at the 2010 census. I doubt that much has changed over the past decade. The quiet, snow covered streets remind me of paintings done back in the 1950’s of families gathered together for dinner in Small Town America.

Mystic Hot Springs is located at the base of the mountains, at the end of a neighborhood street. As I pull up to the gate I see a sign asking one to call to get check-in instructions, as no one is working due to Covid. A nice enough gent is surprised that I made my reservation a year ago, but he lets me know how to get to my cabin, just put the truck in four wheel drive to make it through the snow, and the cabin is located on the other side of the small ravine.

Hippie buses with the words Grateful Dead spray painted on the exterior are littered throughout the property like an antique junkyard. Peacocks are roaming the area in front of my cabin. There isn’t a soul around. The cabin has the pioneering spirit of the Old West and the original white settlers of this land. I open the door and step back in time.

No TV or internet will be found here. Hand quilted thick blankets adorn the cabin walls as well as the bed to keep out the light and provide comfort. A lone black wood stove sits in the corner, the woodpile just outside. First things first, get a fire going as it’s 30 degrees outside, and getting colder.

Let’s be clear, this place is not a fancy resort. No restaurant is on sight, no coffee maker or fridge in your room. Not even a toilet, as you either walk a few hundred yards to a community changing room or use nature. It’s simple, which is exactly what I was looking for. I’m glad that my family decided not to come, as it wouldn’t have been their cup of tea.

The fire is roaring now, and as the sun starts to set I head on up to the Hot Springs. Each person has pre-designated soaking times due to the pandemic, so I have all the Hot Springs to myself.

The water is magic on my muscles, melting away all pain and discomfort. Darkness has enveloped the land as I walk back to my cabin in the silence. No stars are visible tonight as the clouds shroud the night sky. Snow starts to fall again.

I have two nights here. Night one has me meeting the Sandman early, as the hot springs wiped me out. It’s all good though, as I need to rise early for the following days adventure, as well as hopefully find coffee somewhere…..

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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