Our drive from Alligator Pond to Milk River Bath was along an old road (running along the coast a distance of about 45 km) that is rarely traveled and we only once saw another vehicle during our trip. One side of the road is high rock and an occasional cave and the other side is lined with either morass or desert with tall cactus.
Both sides of the road were lined thick with out-of-control white bone Macca, an encroaching bush with huge white thorns along the stems that are very long and sharp. I was thankful for the lack of traffic, as the thorny branches surely would have slapped us a few times had we needed to move over for oncoming or other passing vehicles.
Milk River Bath Hotel is a very large old white wooden building built high above the tiled baths that flow beneath it. We checked into the hotel and were asked if we would be having dinner and were given the choices of the evening to choose from. We were told that dinner is served at 6:30 PM in the dining room. We made our dinner choices, went on to our room to change and head to the wonderful baths. There are screened in verandahs surrounding the hallways leading to the rooms that are sparsely furnished and quaint. Only about $55 US per night with a private bathroom and a television set and less for a room with a shared bathroom facility.
I had been to the baths before but had not stayed at the hotel. This was a much more relaxing and nicer way to experience them. They are open to the public from 7 AM to 9 PM, but open to hotel guests 24/7. The baths are private rooms of tile with steps that go down into the water, which comes in through one side and passes out through the other. The water is truly magical and people come from all over the world to soak away their ailments, as it is one of the strongest mineral baths in the world. The water is a mostly constant 92 degrees and is the most radioactive in the world (more than 50 times more radioactive than Vichy in France) and 20 minutes is the recommended limit for the soak although you can go in and out repeatedly throughout the day and night.
After a longer than recommended stay in the mineral spring, we dressed for dinner and went to the dining room, a huge area with highly polished wooden creaking floors and several large tables around. The most attentive waiter who took his duties seriously met us and he was most efficient. In the dining room was a small television on a front table and everyone’s eyes were glued to the set watching the evening news while the waiter did his thing first class style. The food was beautifully prepared and wonderful.
An after dinner soak in the mineral spring after a long day of traveling was all it took for sleep to come easy that night with an old Jimmy Chang flick on the television in the room and visions of the next days adventure dancing in my head.