I heard that there is a lake that bubbles like soap due to its rich mineral content.
So, I rushed to Washington State.
Unique texture and smell
Soap Lake is located around the halfway point between Seattle and Spokane.
This lake has been famous for its healing waters since the time of the native people.
The lake water has been believed to have medicinal properties, and many sanatoriums lined the streets around the 1920s.
Some of them are still in use as hotels or spas, where you can enjoy the characteristic water in their facilities.
Now, Soap Lake Natural Spa & Resort seems to have two accommodation facilities with different histories that are operated as one.
Notaras Lodge is a relatively new one, established in 1983.
All guests are required to check in at Notaras.
It consists of a kind of spacious cabins for the wealthy.
I stayed here at The Inn at Soap Lake.
This historic hotel was built in 1905 and has a unique appearance made of rounded stones.
From their current operations, they seemed to be very business-like.
In fact, they are doing a wide range of things such as rental conference rooms and weddings.
The refrigerator, microwave, and so on were functionally arranged in a relatively small room.
The bathroom looked normal, and it was hard to believe that healing water was being piped here.
Twisting the lower of the two valves on the wall, filtered lake water came out of the faucet.
The temperature control was effective, and at the hottest, the water was heated to nearly 140 degrees F.
The water was clear and colorless, and at first glance looked ordinary, but it was showing unusual bubbling.
The texture was surprisingly slippery.
In the mouth, an unpleasant irritation like soapy water passed by, followed by the fragrant smell of shrimp.
Lake with too many mysteries
I was so excited, and then realized that I had accidentally forgotten to see the lake.
The hotel is located on the shore of the lake and has a private beach.
There was one Jacuzzi and two saunas in the courtyard leading to the beach.
They seemed to be using that water here as well.
Why does Soap Lake have the pH value of 10, which is as alkaline as soapy water?
A hint may be found by looking at the map.
From Soap Lake to the northeast, a series of long, narrow lakes are scattered around Grand Coulee Dam, where they reach the Columbia River.
The path is said to be an ancient riverbed, the channel of the Missoula flood.
The Missoula Flood was a major flood caused by the collapse of a glacial lake that occurred about every 50 years at the end of the last ice age, 13,000 to 15,000 years ago.
An enormous amount of flowing water cut through the lava plateau, and volcanic material was periodically swept southward.
Soap Lake is located at the southern end of the rift, which is thought to be the reason for the concentration of minerals there.
There doesn't seem to be any background of hot springs at the bottom of the lake or anything like that.
Incidentally, I did not observe any foaming at all on the lake.
In fact, since the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam, it only bubbles up on windy days.
Nevertheless, the texture of the lake water was just as I felt earlier in the tub.
Due to the strong alkalinity, no fish can live here, only small shrimp.
Was that the smell of shrimp I felt back then?
No one can tell.
Soap Lake Natural Spa & Resort (the Inn at Soap Lake), Soap Lake, Washington, U.S.
Rule: Room with thermal water, Clothing required
Chlorination: Not detected
Water temp: Heated lake water