Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs (Ketchum, ID)

This weekend, Emily and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. I know one year doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you’re as relationship-challenged as I am, a year is practically a lifetime. I mean, in lesbian time, we’ve been together like five years (I like to multiply the number of years lesbians have been together by five—that’s the real number). And it has been the best year of my life. As clichéd as it may sound, my life has been made so much better because of Emily, and I’m thankful every day I get to see her smiling face.

If any of you are curious as to “how we met,” this is the blog post to read: it’s pretty straightforward, yet oh-so-adorable. Emily and I have a mutual friend who, for the better part of a year, tried to convince both of us that we should meet. Last year, I wasn’t in a place to date anyone, nor did I want to, so I kept putting it off. Finally, when Alicia again mentioned that she had the perfect person for me to date, I agreed to take Emily’s number and text her. Case in point: I’m always hesitant when my straight friends say they have someone who would “be perfect” for me. Every time I have been set up by someone, it’s ended in disaster (or at least not well). It’s like straight people think that two lesbians will get along simply because they are both lesbians. No one likes being reduced down to “hey, you’re both ladies who like ladies, you’ll love each other!”

I digress. Alicia gave me Emily’s number the day before Valentine’s Day, and I decided it would be best if I waited a few days before texting her. I saw that episode of “The Office” where Ryan hooked up with Kelly the day before Valentine’s Day, and I was not about to make the same mistake. I texted Emily and asked her if she wanted to meet up at my favorite bar in Boise, Prost, and she agreed (and used proper grammar in her text—a HUGE plus!) We set a date, and I made the executive decision to not social media stalk her. If I was going to go into this thing, I wanted to go in with no preconceived notions or information about Emily—I wanted everything to be fresh and new. When I arrived at Prost (which, by the way, is not a huge place), I sat down at a table before I looked around because I had all the nerves. I happened to glance at the tall table tucked away in the corner and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen leaning on her elbows, head in hands. I remember thinking “holy FUCK that chick is hot!” Our eyes met, she smiled at me, and I realized this was Emily. I walked tentatively over, introduced myself, and we spent the next four hours talking, drinking, and getting to know each other. The rest, as they say, is history.

Emily and I decided to celebrate our one-year anniversary at Prost, obviously, because it is where we first met. And our date was absolutely perfect—we frequent Prost quite a bit because we love German beer, and we love everyone who works there. They went out of their way to make our night special, reserving our table and setting up the flowers and gifts I had brought over earlier (and they paid for all our drinks, which is always a plus). We ended the night with a movie and pho.

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Continuing the celebrations into the weekend, we drove up to Sun Valley on Friday, which is about two hours outside of Boise. We absolutely love Sun Valley—not only because we have a free place to stay (thanks mom and dad), but because year-round, the outdoor recreation in Sun Valley is second-to-none. We had grand plans to go snowshoeing and find hot springs, and while we were successful in finding hot springs, we didn’t quite make it out snowshoeing. It was freezing up in Sun Valley. Literally freezing (actually below freezing), so we opted to snuggle under blankets and hunker down at home for the majority of the weekend.

After taking suggestions from people on Instagram for hot springs anywhere near Ketchum, we settled on Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs off Warm Springs Road. From Elkhorn Village, it was roughly a 30-minute drive. Due to the heavy snowfall in Sun Valley we had to throw the truck into 4-wheel drive for a good portion of the journey; I’m sure in the summer you can get there much quicker. We were anticipating needing to snowshoe into the hot springs because we had heard the road, to a certain point, was not drivable due to weather conditions, but we were pleasantly surprised to be able to drive almost right up to the hot springs. There are signs along the way on Warm Springs Road to indicate you are going in the right direction. There is very limited parking before the hot springs and in fact, the parking area closest to the hot springs was overrun by giant trucks and moving vehicles. There are houses nearby, so when parking, be careful not to block any driveways. I have no idea how we fit the truck into the spot we did, but we didn’t get towed, so high-five to that.

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I believe, based on a google search, that Frenchman’s is quite popular in the summer/fall months, but we had the entire hot springs area to ourselves, which is impressive for a Saturday morning. A light snow had begun to fall, and this made the entire experience a bit surreal. The hot springs are located right off the road, and it’s a very short trip down to the pools. The surrounding area is absolutely breathtaking (see photos below), and it was so quiet, we could hear our voices echoing in the trees. We stripped down to our bathing suits, as this is not a nudity-friendly or even alcohol-friendly hot springs—though we may have broken that rule (case in point, there is a big wooden sign right next to the hot springs detailing the rules and regulations) and immediately jumped in, because it was a whopping 21 degrees outside. And while I was met with nearly scalding water in the spot I found (literally burned my ass), Emily was hit with freezing cold river water in her spot. This leads me to probably my biggest (and only) complaint about these particular hot springs, at least in the winter: we could not find a spot that was just right. We either burned our skin every 30 seconds when the springs would boil up from the ground, or we froze when the river next to us would splash into our little pools. We lasted about an hour soaking, but I think this would have been longer had the water been consistently warm-ish, and not on either end of the hot-cold spectrum. Getting out of the pools was a bit trickier: because it was so cold and it had been snowing, all of our things were covered in the recent snowfall, making putting on our warm clothes sort of pointless. Both of us were incredibly grateful for the close proximity to our truck as we hurriedly shuffled back to warmth.

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We would like to try Frenchman’s again this summer and see if our experience is any better with water temperature. Because we frequent Sun Valley so much in the summer, we are excited to explore more hot springs in the area, when driving conditions are more conducive to exploration.

 

 

 

 

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