It’s sort of like the Jersey shore with an element of geothermal danger.
We ford a freezing stream across the beach and follow the people with buckets and shovels tossed over their shoulders.
Groups of people who may or may not like each other gather in little eddies on the beach, digging out a DIY hot tub in which to lounge and admire themselves. Needless to say, it’s the stuff of Instagram selfie dreams.
The bros are sent on regular missions to the cool waves of the beach, bringing back much-needed cold water to balance out the near-boiling water seeping out of the sand.
It’s only available a few hours a day, when the tide is just right.
A lifeguard prowls between the sandy kiddie pools, looking at the shore, not the surf. He’s trying to keep people from burning themselves, not drowning.
We wander through the crowd, the hot water burning a bit between the refreshing waves. Warm, hot, tooooo hot, splash sploosh a swirl of hot and cold surrounds your toes, then lukewarm… and the curious sensations repeat.
I get caught up in the spectacle for a moment. Watching the families delight in baby’s first natural hot tub experience. Ambitious teenagers attempting to maintain Olympic-sized sandy hot tubs. A lady deeply engrossed in her semi-sandy romance novel, dog perched to her side looking skeptically at the water.
When I glance up, there's just a little black line of Kate. Far down the beach, where the magic and the crowds stop.