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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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kananaskis spa

This afternoon, Jeff and I rented bikes and rode some trails. It was rougher than either of us expected, but the scenery was was VERY difficult for me to keep my eyes on the path in front of me (which was pretty rocky and strewn with tree roots in places). Midway through our ride, we stopped for lunch
by a glacial stream at the foot of a mountain. Hid our bikes in some brush and then waded across the stream (and WOW was it COLD!!!) with shoes and lunches in hand to our chosen picnic spot on a rocky point.

Last night I decided to splurge and get my first professional massage. I went for the whole package, an Herbal Body Wrap/Alphamassage. I showed up for my appointment a bit nervous, not sure what to expect. The woman behind the counter was very friendly, and the comfortable waiting room sprinkled with holistic magazines and books on aromatherapy. I was told to go into a small room, take off my clothes and put on a towel.

A soft-spoken blonde woman named Katie knocked and came in after a few minutes and opened up a long pod thingy which strongly resembled the torpedo pod that Spock was buried in, except that it was white and had a hole at the top for one's head. Then Katie took a soft bristle brush and brushed me all over with it ("helps with exfoliation"), asked me to lie down in the padded tube. Then I was wrapped in damp towels that had been steeped in a hot herb infusion, and a sheet of thin plastic wrapped around that. The wrapping was loose enough to allow me to move around a bit inside, but not much. Not recommended for claustrophobics! Katie moved my hair away from my face with a terrycloth headband, then painted my face with warm lavender-scented mud. VERY weird feeling, that, someone painting your face. She put a pad over my eyes, headphones over my ears, plugged in relaxing nature sounds, waves washing up on shore, birds calling in the distance, that sort of thing. Then she pushed some button and the mattress below me started vibrating. I baked for about 45 minutes (I had to scratch my nose once and got lavender mud on the sheets), with Katie checking on me every 10 minutes or so, until I finally emerged, wobbly and exfoliated, to be led to the massage room where Katie worked on me for one glorious hour. :-) By the time was all over, I had only enough energy to stagger to bed.

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