Aladdin Inn was part of the Mineral Hot Springs Inn, and our rooms were just a block away from the pools.
We actually were being lodged in the "luxury" suite that had three bedrooms on two floors and three queen size beds! The reservations people seemed rather surprised to learn that it was just the two of us staying in the room.
Too bad we didn't know anyone nearby that we could have called to join us!
Now this is what I call steamy! There were three hot pools in the front of the building and two in the back of the building.
The back of the hotel overlooked a medium sized river fed by both snow melt and hot spring waters.
The pools have been in use since the 1920's. No sulfur in the water though, which was a nice change from other mineral spas that we have enjoyed over the years.
All around us couples soaked and chatted with one another, comparing their reasons for coming to the place, where they lived and so on.
One young couple were on a first "getaway" since their second child was born. It brought back memories of a similar getaway to a hot springs in the San Diego desert area when our second child was still very new.
Such a good times... both then and now.
We've stayed at very elegant hotels over the years; this one was more what we call "hippy-dippy"--a very hang loose, come to breakfast in sweats or pajama bottoms, and serve yourself kind of place.
When I looked up from my eggs and waffles I was quite amazed to see a poster from my hometown. Ah...a touch of the seaside village way up here in snow covered Idaho.
Who woulda thunk?
A young couple glanced over at us, and asked if we would like to have our picture taken.
I thought that was really sweet! Didn't even quibble that I hadn't bothered to "pretty up" before breakfast as I knew I'd be in the hot pools as soon as I finished my meal.
The steam rising from the pools froze on every possible surface, here creating frost rings inside a plastic chair seat's grid work
As did the frozen crystals trimming iron patio chairs.
In the hot spring fed pools the water's minerals had built up over time, just as they do inside of caverns, leaving deposits in fanciful sculptural shapes.
The whole scene was slightly surreal: snow was piled about, yet people wandered through the scene wearing only wet swim suits and damp towels.
I kept thinking of National Geographic pictures of the old Soviet Union, of people enjoying hot springs while staying in pre-WWI ancient spas along the Baltic sea.
For now it was what I call "calendar pictures" viewing time.
through the valley.
That evening we enjoyed scenes from another place: The Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics. We nibbled chocolate covered strawberries in bed, marveled at the technology that allowed us to see Orca whales swimming inside an arena miles away, see prarie grasses instantly grow at the touch of an air dancer's feet, and hear the fiddle and tap of dancers from places where we had never been.
What amazing times we live in!
We were in Lava Springs from Friday night until Sunday morning. Celebrations of Valentine's stretched over the time, with long soaks, naps, and then hours of Olympic event viewing from our bed.
Lazy people: that would be us!
Heading back to SLC we tried to decide what to do for dinner. Dim Sum sounded good...we had not known it was also Chinese New Years as well as Valentine's Day!
It was a bit too bad that we hadn't wanted to wait three more hours for a Dragon Dance and fire crackers at the restaurant. Our tummies were more demanding than our need for another cultural experience.
If you have never had Dim Sum before, let me explain how it works. A trolley full of hot metal pots is rolled up to your table, and the server opens each lid, explains what is in the pot (in Korean or Chinese, depending on the restaurant) and sometimes you know what you are getting and sometimes you don't.