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The “Pie Sauna” & Other Spa Treatments of Terlingua

Between the pie baking during these hot summer afternoons and the subsequent body-cooling trips to Terlingua Creek, I’ve realized is that I’m living in the world’s biggest outdoor spa, surrounded by natural treatments — and all for free. Here’s the list so far.

1. Sauna: Bake pies in your kitchen during the height of the afternoon when it’s already 100 degrees in the house. Turning on the oven to the necessary baking temperature of 425 will ensure sweat flows freely out of your pores, just like in the cedar-lined heated rooms of Sweden. Downside: There’s no cold plunge pool to balance out your body heat — the closest is 10 miles away. Add to that, Terlingua’s cold tap water heats up as the day progresses, so by afternoon the “cold” comes out of the tap the same temperature as the hot.
2. Exfoliation: Head over to Terlingua Creek (pictured above) where the tiny little fish will nibble off your dead skin. By the size of their appetite you figure you must really need the body scrub! Downside: You never know when and where the fish will bite next. Also, they have a preference for arm pits, which can be very ticklish.
3. Hair Highlights: Go outside (right outside your door is fine), stand in the scorching sun for thirty minutes a day, and your hair will get naturally highlighted by the intense rays. Downside: Your skin will burn too until eventually it resembles beef jerky and you will likely become dehydrated, but by god your hair will be blond! 4. Massage: Hike to Cattail Falls in Big Bend National Park and stand under the waterfall (as I did just last week, above). The pounding of water pouring down from 100 feet above will do wonders for your tired shoulder muscles. Downside: It’s illegal to enter the water. “Sorry, officer, I didn’t see the sign.”

5. Mud mask: This one is easy. We have lots of mud here – it’s more like clay — full of natural minerals, and, of course, it’s free. For this you just roll around on the banks of the Rio Grande River and — voila! – your skin will be purified! Downside: The mud doesn’t come off easily, your swimsuit will never be clean again, and you’ll have to wash your hair at least 3 times to remove the residual dirt.
6. Acupuncture: Just go for a run through the cactus and you will come out with perfectly placed, deeply imbedded thorns that look just like acupuncture needles. (The pic above shows a good example.) You will feel very relaxed afterward – after the severe pain has subsided. Downside: The “needles” are not sterilized and must be self-inflicted.