Monday, June 23, 2008

Lava Hot Springs

We spent this past weekend at a wonderful place not too far from home---the famed Lava Hot Springs. This hot spot is located here in Southeastern Idaho. It is a popular resort where a myriad of fun activities await the weary traveler or the excited tourist.

We arrived on Friday in preparation for yet another family reunion. About 3 months ago, I had made reservations at a place called CottonWood Campground. I had asked for a campsite in the trees and we weren't disappointed. The RV site we were assigned was wonderful. Not only was it in the shade of tall cottonwood trees, but it was next to the Portneuf River.

The sound of flowing water was soothing, and I found a series of tiny waterfalls, so I was happy. ;) (See my blog entitled: "Water Moments" that was posted last week.) While I was busy taking several pictures, my husband decided to try his hand at fishing. He caught 3 trout that first afternoon, and to celebrate, we decided to fry them up that night. We invited my mother and sister to partake of vittles with us and a good time was had by all. We ate, played games, and watched as several people floated the nearby river on float tubes that can be rented at several locations downtown.

The next day we made preparations for the massive hordes of people (around 70) who would be coming to this reunion. Since our family was in charge, we didn't lack for things to do. We still managed to enjoy some time soaking in the various pools located at the motel where my mother and sister were staying. These pools, which range in temperature from 44 degrees Fahrenheit to 107 degrees Fahrenheit are open to the public but there is a charge for this privilege.

If you're a serious swimmer, I would suggest that you opt for the actual Olympic Swimming Complex that has made this area famous. The cost is about the same as it is to enjoy the pools I mentioned above, but the Olympic pools are larger plus there are slides and all kinds of fun things available.

Incidentally, during the cooler months, I heartily recommend the Mineral Hot Springs that are located just down the street from the Olympic Swimming facility. My husband and I have enjoyed these springs a few times during the winter months. It's quite an experience to soak in the healing mineral water as snowflakes flutter around.

Back to the camping reunion adventure: that night, several of us gathered at our campsite where we enjoyed roasted hot dogs, s'mores, and singing around the pretend campfire. (There are no fire pits in this campground.) Since we had brought along a propane-fueled Cache-cooker, we were able to cook a variety of culinary delights. I had also brought along my guitar and we were soon engaged in a sing-a-long. We were evidently enjoying ourselves so much, our neighbors to the west were inspired to walk over to investigate. =) California natives, they were enjoying this night of Idaho culture. Their teenage daughter could also play the guitar, so we had a fun time learning some of the songs she knew, as well as teaching this talented young lady and her parents the silly songs we like to sing while in camping mode.

At one point during the night, my son, Derek, decided to serenade his wife, Kristen. The guitar was quickly passed back to me when Derek tried to imitate a hound dog. (Incidentally, this son can sing---he was being a smart aleck) It was a lively, fun evening, one that ended too soon. Exhausted, we called it a night and retreated to our various homes-away-from-home.

There are two large parks available in Lava---one on each side of town. Both contain large pavilions. Neither of these facilities can be reserved---it's a first come, first serve kind of tradition. My mother and sister arrived bright and early the morning of our reunion dinner (around 9:00 a.m.) to stake their claim at the west park. Later that day, we enjoyed glorious amounts of food, and held a family raffle\auction to raise money for next year's reunion.

All in all, we had a wonderful time in Lava. There are so many fun things to see and do in this location. It works great for reunions, a simple family get-away, or a romantic escape. If you are passing through Idaho, or you live in the area, take advantage of this awesome resort town.

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