One of the last things that really needs to be written about our trip to Alaska (as it was now some five months ago), is the Chena Hot Springs. Not that I would ever admit this to my wife, but this is probably the one thing that I had been looking forward to the most for the entire trip. Years of watching Japanese media has conditioned me that this is the absolute height of any vacation, so when I was informed that we were going to stay at one for a night I tried to hide my child like glee. I would like to think I did a good job, but I am pretty sure that I looked like my dog when I am about to take her for a walk.
Added onto this was that Veronica and I were able to drive the several hours (remember it was in Alaska, so nothing is next to anything else… aside from snow and mountains), together, and alone. I absolutely love my mother-in-law and love spending time with her, but one of my favorite things to do in the world is spend time with my wife, and above that is to take road trips; this small road trip was perfect for me. Mainly because Veronica is simply my favorite person (and don’t listen to her when she says I slept on the way there. That is lies).
After arriving at the hotel, of course, aside from checking in the first thing that we did was make a beeline for the hot springs. This is one of the few instances in my life that my wife suggested that I take pictures of something and I looked at her as if she was insane. Normally I am the odd ball taking out my camera during dinner and snapping a shot or eight, and I am greeted with glares by my partner (maybe a dozen years ago, but thanks to Instagram I am now just doing what everyone else in the world is doing). This time I looked at her and asked if she thought that people might not like having their picture taken while they were in bathing suits, and without being asked. To this I just got a quiet, “oh”, and the subject was dropped.
Before arriving, the water had been described as “bathwater temperature,” or “slightly hotter,” at worst. I would like to think that I have a fairly good resistance to warm water, as most of the bathrooms I shower in have naturally turned into saunas—the water here made me question everything. As the entire spring is natural there are hotter areas and colder, but that first day most of them were just shy of boiling. Thankfully there was a sprinkler towards one end that sprayed nothing but ice water into the air/spring. We spent a good amount of time alternating between that and pretending that everything was totally fine in the spring by itself.
I am not going to lie, we didn’t last long in the pool. Because, to be honest, while it felt amazing to have cold air from the mountain blowing from above, and to see snow on the top of the surrounding rocks, that place was hot, and I very much did not want to die. Also when we got out, even though we were warned, I am pretty sure that we were dehydrated from being in 9 thousand degree water.
For dinner that night we also went to the amazing restaurant that was located on the grounds, because there was nowhere else to go for food—but mainly because they served king crab and I needed that. I want to say that the place was “Alaskan themed” but that also strangely looks very much like Adirondack theme, but with slightly different animals on the walls. Everything is made of wood, the walls are that of a log cabin, and weird warped branches are used wherever possible to hold something up. My favorite part was that we sat under a bison.
One of the things that I will continue to point out to veronica, and that she consistently hates, is that I absolutely love mozzarella sticks and have pretty much given them up since marrying her—due to her issues with them. Granted, it is a small price to pay, and it is a fair exchange. I guess because of me continually bringing this up about 87 times in the three weeks before arriving in Alaska she decided that we should order some off the menu, and maybe make be quiet for a while. The jokes on her, now I know how to get cheese filled sticks.
I would love to talk about the king crab, but it really would just amount to saying that it was “really good crab,” and probably be boring. What was more interesting was the two sides that it came with. One was a rice dish, which was fine, but confusing because rice dishes are mainly put with something to fill you up—also they aren’t something that instantly think I need to run out and get if I want crab at that moment. I would lean closer to a potato if I was going for a starch there, or corn. But maybe rice is just fancier? The odder thing, and which I managed to eat almost nothing of, was the odd veggie dish that – I think—was a mixture of poison and broccoli. Not that any of that really mattered, because there was enough crab on the plate to kill a small land mammal.
Interesting fact, did you know that if you take a really hot bath, and then eat a big meal –in either order – you get very, very tired after? Because that is pretty much exactly what happened after dinner. Veronica acted like children and went right to bed. Thankfully we were promptly woken up by the phone a little after one in the morning to inform us that the aurora had come out to play, a call that my wife had requested. Getting my love out of bed was an adventure in and of itself, but she was probably happier after watching the lights then I saw her during most of the trip. I would post pictures, but they are pretty much of a black night sky.
Before checking out the next day we did go back into the springs, and explore a little bit, but it kind of seemed like everything fun was closed. It was neat, but we had officially come between two seasons, the winter snow and the pleasant “reason to be in Alaska” summer.