After my first experience in the Merry Widow Health Mine last night I wanted to take advantage of all the treatments I could in the short time I'm here. I found out today that this mine was featured in the January 2004 National Geographic Magazine. The article is called ZipUSA: 59631Mining for Miracles. Check it out!
It was a cold night, 36 degrees, but I stayed warm in the camper with the head pads lining the bottom of the camper and the furnace turned on to keep me warm. I set my alarm for 7 so I could take 4 treatments at the mine. A treatment includes a 10-minute soak of hands and feet in the 44-degree water running through the mine followed by an hour hanging out just breathing the air and drinking the water. There are also spigots where clean mineral water flows that can be used to flush your eyes (eye cups available at the gift shop). After an hour in the mine, you must leave for 2 hours before returning for another hour. I went up to the mine for my first treatment before I had any coffee or breakfast and after 6 minutes with my hands and feet submerged in the frigid water my body revolted and I felt sick to my stomach and light headed. I stretched out for a few minutes on a bench and the feeling passed quickly, but decided I would need food before attempting the 10-minute soak in that cold water again!
The inside of the mine is covered with graffiti where visitors have left their mark as a way of "signing the guestbook". Some visitors write on the wall or the pipes that bring in the water. Others write on a rock that they bring into the mine and leave. I was sitting relaxing and reading a small section of the wall and you will never guess what I spotted on water pipe... Talk about seeing a sign that I was meant to be here!
I stayed in the mine for the full hour then followed my new friends Katie, Lisbeth and Darious to the Merry Widow Health Mine Cottage where they are staying. Lisbeth and Katie were offering baked goods, eggs, handcrafts, jams and lotions for sale they made at the Hutterite colony where they live. Both are wonderfully talented. Here is Lisbeth with a rug she created by sewing 1" squares folded in half to a background marked with a grid. Spectacular!
I purchased two dozen farm fresh eggs, a jar of honey, a cooling cloth, some solid hand lotions, and a pair of spectacularly beautiful handcrafted leather and beaded slippers made by Lisbeth. Such treasures and the slippers will be a wonderful reminder of my lovely new friends.
I decided to take a drive around Basin. It really is a small town. Here's a view looking down the main street:
and when I turned around here is the view in the other direction! The population is about 190.
The town has a Post Office, (which was closed at noon on a Thursday!) and a pretty church, a pizza place and a cafe/bar. There was also a Pottery Shop but it was closed too. I'll try earlier tomorrow and maybe I can catch it open. I also found a sign describing the mining history of this area (click picture to enlarge)
I followed a road out of town and wound up the side of one of the many hills surrounding this area and into Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest. I followed the road for about 5 miles enjoying the scenery before lunch. I was blessed with another beautiful sunny day in the mid 60's
I came back to the campground and took more treatments after lunch. I am having such fun chatting with the folks here at the mine. The conversation is always lively, funny, informative and interesting. There are several visitors from Canada (Manitoba, and Edmonds, Alberta), as well as some folks from Washington state, Idaho, and Montana. I learned that in the winter here the temps often get down to -40F and that a sometimes in winter a Chinook wind (a warm wind off the Rockies) can bring a dramatic, sudden and rapid change in temperature. Lisbeth told of one day in February where the temperature changed 100 degrees within a 12 hour period changing from 60 degrees above zero to 40 degrees below! Brrrr. She also says that in 2002 they experienced snowfall in every single month of the year! Summers here are typically hot and temps are often in the 90's and can reach as high as100. This is a land that requires a hearty constitution to live year round!
I am meeting such wonderful people here, like Mike and Sandy L. from Lake Stevens Washington. They visited Wild Thing and we had a lovely chat. They also have a camper and recommended Lake Pleasant Campground in Seattle which is near where they live and were delighted when I told them I had been there as my first stop! It is indeed a small world!
I'm feeling relaxed and ready for a good sleep tonight. This is the first day I have not been consumed with tasks and it feels good to relax! Another day here tomorrow and my batteries will be fully recharged and I'll be ready for the next adventure in Wild Thing! I'll leave you with a shot I took of Wild Thing in the campground and my view out the back window.