The memory conjured up by slapping paper wristbands around our forearms felt more like entering a commerical waterpark, or being 21+ at a Nickelback concert than relaxing bathtime. This should have been all the foreshadowing we needed.
At half an hour, the walk from the parking lot is just a bit too long, and yet it is the most enjoyable part of one’s experience at Bagby. Once we landed at the bath-sheds the greetings were chiding beer-laughs over Top 40 on BIG JAMBOXes. The large public bath was overrun by a group of friends who thought that the best way to interact with you was to ignore you completely. And in trying our luck at the semi-public bath our welcoming was sneering for trying the broken hottub that they had been so wise to avoid – then more ignoring and blaring pop. So we slumped off to the dressing-room sized private “tubs”.
With some determination, we set to drawing a bath of solitude. Stifled again, we could only get up to our ankles in either scalding or freezing water in a hollowed out log that was closer to a bobsled than a hottub. This is what the bath is like:
Someone is trying to ultraboil their diva-cup at one end of a sluice whose run-off you can pipe in to your grody slimepit. If this is too hot, use a 5 gallon bucket to schlep in some freezing water from a nearby well. You can not get the temperature right, and it cannot exceed a height of more than 6 inches because the canoe is inefficiently plugged up by a softball on a string. The walls are adorned with carved Graffiti gems such as “Future Kurvers” and the perplexing “cholofsts.”
That’s when we understood that trying to appreciate the finer points of bathing at Bagby is like trying to study in your dorm room during spring break in College. We got bored of being uncomfortable after about 10 minutes of putting a good smile on the situation, took a selfie and GTFO’d.
Other disturbing features of this ogre’s collection of hot cisterns, was its clothing required policy (which we did not respect too well). Leaving the din of shouting behind we were more cognizant of the glitter litter and discarded wristbands on the ground. “Bagby has all the social mores of Walmart,” Harry quipped.
Back in the parking lot, the friendly forest ranger asked how we liked the baths. Rather than expressing our discontent, we placated them with an “ok,” – the quicker way to escape. One out of five spigots because five dollars is a pretty cheap way to have a bad time.