Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort – Desert Hot Springs, California

Sam’s Family Spa is a true oasis in the desert.  This is a 50 acre RV campground that is centered around a large lake with lush gardens and lots of shade.  It’s been a family run and family oriented business since 1971.

Campsites at Sam’s (from http://www.wheelingit.us/)

Desert Hot Springs is the lesser known cousin of Palm Springs, California.  Desert Hot Springs still retains its desert feel, even though it is a fairly large city.  The approach to Sam’s is no different; the roads are dun and dusty. Once you arrive at the grounds, the campsites retain that desert feel – ours had a large saguaro as well as some smaller desert plants, and we shared our RV site with a desert hare who seemed to accept our presence as a mild inconvenience.

The central feature of the RV park is the lake, complete with ducks and other wildlife.  It’s a true oasis, a very tranquil centerpiece and a nice change from the surrounding desert.  There are walking paths around the lake and a large well furnished rec hall.  There is a volleyball court and picnic tables.  And of course there are the springs.

The Lake at Sam’s (from Tripadvisor.com)

Outdoor soaking pool at Sam’s (via Yelp)

The spring water is pumped from deep underground Desert Hot Springs aquifer, and comes to the surface at about 105 F.  There are 5 soaking pools and another pool for smaller children, along with a sauna and a regular swimming pool. All the pools are clean and well maintained.  There were lots of times when we were the only ones in the pools so we found it very relaxing.  I really enjoyed listening to the birds singing while I soaked.  I moved from pool to pool, both indoors and out and soaked up the moisture of the oasis after a week in the desert dust.  The lushness at Sam’s is a really nice change from the desert.

Children are everywhere here and it is a great place for them to run around and enjoy the outdoors.  While we were here, we never felt crowded – there was lots of space and many different types of areas to relax in.  There is lots of shade at Sam’s so we didn’t have to worry about the desert sun, but we could step out of the shade to dry off instantly in the desert wind.

Sam’s is one of the best RV parks I’ve ever seen.  It has loads of activities and great hot springs pools in a lush desert setting.  There are very few well developed hot springs in California and I count this as a great place to stay for an extended period, and especially good for families.  Because of the layout of the springs and pools area, it’s one of the few places where a parent can have a relaxing soak while still keeping one eye on the children.  Check out Sam’s Family Spa Hot Water Resort the next time you are in Desert Hot Springs!

Signing Off from Tecopa Hot Springs

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On The Sorting Table at China Ranch

I only spent three days in Tecopa – that wasn’t nearly enough to even begin to explore this place!  I thought I had done my research before I went and I knew of 3 hot springs in the town so I figured I would have enough time to explore them along with a side trip to the China Ranch date farm.

In reality, there are at least 5 hot springs to visit in Tecopa.  There are ultralight tours, hiking and biking trails, Dumont Dunes and more.  The stark beauty of the desert takes your breath away.  The feisty Amargosa River sneaks up on you in Tecopa – I had to laugh at swatting away mosquitoes in Death Valley!  I didn’t spend enough time just looking at the rocks – who knows how many opals I overlooked?  Tecopa is a remote and deeply spiritual place, and I was glad to have met Lady Gaia on this trip.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Al & Rhea, Hot Springs Aficionados

I met many great people in Tecopa, and I have a special shoutout to Al & Rhea, fellow hot springs aficionados, who told me about Saline – I didn’t get there in the end, but I will try to go another time.

The water here is great, soft and silky on the skin, with a mineral texture.  Every time I mix up the bentonite mud masque I brought back, the scent makes me feel like I could close my eyes and be back in Tecopa, in the desert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe geology of the area, called the Amargosa Chaos, blew me away.  The path of that little Amargosa River from Beatty to Tecopa to Lake Manly is an astounding, hidden path.  Lake Manly?  Did you know that Death Valley is a Lake?  Lake Manly and Death Valley are the same place – its name depends on how much rain has fallen.  Very occasionally, rainfall makes Lake Manly reappear and the lucky few who are prepared can kayak across Death Valley… click here for the photos to prove it.  It’s proved yet again on the drive to China Ranch, as you descend into a canyon that is oh so obviously the bottom of a mud puddle.

It was much too short a time to spend in Tecopa, yet it was wonderful.  I learned so much there and later while completing these posts, about geology and history and the interplay between earth and water.  One thing I learned in Tecopa is that I feel deeply thankful that I am a Hot Springs Aficionado – this path has helped me meet wonderful people, soak in warm adventures, and enjoy life so much more than before.  So please join me and a growing tribe of other Hot Springs Aficionados as we share our stories, our favorite soaks, and choose to consciously live life in the hot springs of the world.

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This post is one of a series of on the Hot Springs of Tecopa; to see others, click on the links below:

Post #1: Tecopa Hot Springs

Post #2: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Post #3:Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Post #4: Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Post #5: Signing Off From Tecopa Hot Springs

Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Tecopa Hot Springs Campground

Tecopa Hot Springs Campground

Locals refer to these as the “county baths”. These baths are operated by the Tecopa Hot Springs Conservancy, whose members are working very hard to increase awareness and responsible use of the Amargosa River.  They have developed an excellent website for the Tecopa Hot Springs Campground that is full of useful information to help you plan your trip to Tecopa.  This is an excellent campground with fabulous views and great walking trails.  The campground even supplies GPS tracking systems for hikers, and all campsites have wifi.  I didn’t realize it then, but the new management had only been in place for about three weeks the day I was there and there are a lot of plans for the future.

The View from Tecopa Hot Springs Campground

The View

At the center of the campground are two large segregated bath houses, one for men and one for women. There are two pools inside, one with spring water flowing directly in for an average temperature of about 103 F, while the second pool is supplied with the overflow so it is a little cooler. The pools are enclosed in large but simple and freshly painted cinder block structures. The main pool doesn’t have a roof so you are more exposed to the elements here than in the other bath houses in Tecopa.

Once you enter the bath house, hang up your clothes then take a shower. After that, it’s only a few feet to enter the baths. The pools are very deep, about 4’, so you can easily get a full soak and float experience here. The pools have rounded gravel on the bottom and the open sky overhead gives you a sense of being truly outside – the walls are purely for modesty here. The walls are plain and functional, the pools are plain and functional, and the waters feel wonderful. You can float here for a long time, looking up to the evening stars.

The baths are open long hours and offer a pleasant place for socializing. The office keeps a small supply of drinks and snacks available. As always when heading for Tecopa, I recommend your bring your own water and wine and food. You’re only allowed to bring water into the baths, but for some reason if I had to choose a drink for here it would be a light green tea. That seems the perfect accompaniment to the warm healing waters and wide open spaces of Tecopa California.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This post is one of a series of on the Hot Springs of Tecopa; to see others, click on the links below:

Post #1: Tecopa Hot Springs

Post #2: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Post #3:Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Post #4: Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Post #5: Signing Off From Tecopa Hot Springs

Delights Hot Springs Resort, Tecopa, California

 

Delight's Hot Springs Resort

Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

You can’t miss the entrance to Delight’s Hot Springs Resort – it has the largest sign in town!  Like the other “Resorts” in Tecopa, Delights Hot Springs Resort is mainly an RV park, with some rooms and cabins. It is probably the most “developed” of the springs in Tecopa. The grounds are well maintained, there are nice walking paths and the bath houses are clean and bright. The buildings are mainly made of cinderblock so as hotel rooms they can be dark.

Some people have been coming for decades and are avid fans. But don’t expect luxury here; there is no cell service, no phone, no TV, and only occasional wifi. There is no restaurant on site at Delights (and the nearest place for breakfast is in Shoshone) so pack what you plan to eat and drink. I don’t even know where the nearest liquor store is, so bring your own wine if you’d like a glass. As always in the desert, bring water, lots of it!

Bathing at Delight's Hot Springs Resort

Bathing at Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Pool Rules at Delight's

Pool Rules at Delight’s

The atmosphere at Delight’s is more structured than some of the other resorts in Tecopa and there are clear rules to follow. There are 5 private bath houses that are large and clean and were freshly painted when I was there in January 2015.  As per Inyo County law, you must bathe naked.  There are showers in the bath houses and you must shower before bathing.  All the showers I saw were modern single unit fiberglass models that looked like recent upgrades.  There was ample hot and cold running water in the showers I used.

Delight's Bath House

Delight’s Bath House

The bath houses are very spacious with room for a few people on the deck as well as in the baths.  The baths themselves are large, close to 10’x10’.  The water is quite hot where it enters the pools – probably about 106F, so the pool temperature is a glorious 103-104F.  The water is deep so you can really sink into it and feel the heat soaking through your bones.  These were the best bath houses I found in Tecopa.  I was solo on this trip, and it would have been nice to share the privacy of these baths with a few close friends.

There are fabric sunbrella roofs over the bath houses to cut the sun. On the day I went it was raining and tiny droplets of rain seeped through – it was a real pleasure to enjoy feeling my body floating in the warmth of the springs while a gentle and cooling rain misted my face.

Hot Springs Aficionado: hard at work in Tecopa!

Hot Springs Aficionado: hard at work in Tecopa!

The overflow from the bath houses trickles down the hill in the form of a small creek winding its way towards the Amargosa. The frogs were signing when I was there – that was a hallmark of Tecopa for me: frogs signing in the desert!

A Stream in the Desert, Delight's Hot Springs Resort

A Stream in the Desert, Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

This is the third in a series on Tecopa Hot Springs. Stay tuned for more on the wonderful hot springs in this little town.

This post is one of a series of on the Hot Springs of Tecopa; to see others, click on the links below:

Post #1: Tecopa Hot Springs

Post #2: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Post #3:Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Post #4: Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Post #5: Signing Off From Tecopa Hot Springs

Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

 

 

Tecopa Hot Springs Resort - A Vintage Vibe

Tecopa Hot Springs Resort – A Vintage Vibe

There is a vintage vibe about this place. There are no TVs or telephones in the room. There is no cell service. There is an unending series of mountain vistas. There is dust. There is the hot dry desert sun. And oddly enough when I was there in January, there were frogs, lots of frogs singing. I was even more surprised to find mosquitoes here in the desert – or maybe I was more surprised that they found me!  I get the feeling that life is hard here, but I also got a feeling of deep serenity.  This is an RV park, not a “resort” in the sense that we usually think of them, but it does have a classic vintage vibe and a very welcoming and friendly attitude.

 

 

 

Bathing Rooms inside the Motel Building

Bathing Rooms inside the Motel Building

Like so many places in California, the springs here are semi-developed, enclosed in small private bathhouses.  This resort is a work in progress. Amy, the owner, has been here since 2001, working on her vision of art and healing in the desert’s sacred space. She told me many tales of the history of this place and of the healings that have happened here. She describes this place as “Vast, healing, surprising, calming, serene.” We sit at the bistro overlooking the Amargosa chaos, declared a “wild and scenic river” by Congress in 2009. The Amargosa river’s headwaters are near Beatty, near Bailey’s Hot Springs – I remember seeing that little river and wondering what it would grow up to be. Now here I am, watching the Amargosa in its glory before it turns north into Death Valley.

Overlooking the Amargosa Chaos

Overlooking the Amargosa Chaos

Amy talks of the Resort’s stargazing, of how you can see Jupiter’s moons cast shadows on the planet, of the history of this place, how Harry used railroad ties for his buildings. We talk about technical details; the wellhead provides 120 gallons per minute, at 120 F, we talk of art, and the solstice, the town’s healing miracle cottonwood tree. This is a place to unwind, unplug, be one with the galaxy. It is a good place to be.  This is a good place to “just be”.

Just be.

Just be.

One of the Soaking Pools at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

One of the Soaking Pools at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

There are 5 small private baths at the Resort, three in the motel building, two in a bathhouse on top of the hill. The inflow pipes are placed high so there is the continuous sound of water pouring into the pools. The water is a perfect temperature, about 103F.  Shower in your room before you come to bathe, or in the upper bath house.  Bring a towel and a wrap and your own sandals.

 

 

Aztec Secret Bentonite Clay Masque

Aztec Secret Bentonite Clay Masque

I picked up some bentonite clay that was on sale in the office and tried it out. I was really impressed with the results. My skin was instantly smoother and more even coloured than it normally is!  I do a full body bentonite mud masque twice weekly now and it has really helped my skin.  I’d recommend this for everyone!

 

 

The Pastels Bistro has a small but decent menu that includes vegan and vegetarian options. I had a lentil, kale and barley soup that was a warm and hearty meal for $8.50. The coffee is excellent. It’s cash only, so bring your wallet. The Bistro opens on demand, for a few hours a day at lunch and supper – if you have asked them to!  They don’t have a liquor license, and I’m not sure where the nearest liquor store is, so bring your herbal teas, your own water, and your own fixings. This is the kind of place where I would mix myself a funky martini and watch the sun set after a great day of hiking, rock hounding and soaking in the wonderful waters.

Soaking at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Soaking at the Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

The next time you are in Las Vegas, and looking for something completely different, head to Tecopa Hot Springs to unplug, unwind and soak.

This post is one of a series of on the Hot Springs of Tecopa; to see others, click on the links below:

Post #1: Tecopa Hot Springs

Post #2: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Post #3:Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Post #4: Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Post #5: Signing Off From Tecopa Hot Springs

Tecopa Hot Springs

My first official trip to do research for Hot Springs Aficionado was to Tecopa, California.  I’ve been to the desert before, so as soon I picked up my Jeep (shout out to Sixt car rentals of Las Vegas for giving me a brand new Rubicon!!!) I also picked up a case of water.  35 x 500 ml bottles, about 4 gallons – the kind of detail that makes a real difference in the desert.

The drive to Tecopa reminded me again of just how vast and remote so much of California can be. Tecopa lies about 75 minutes off the interstate that runs from LA to Las Vegas. That 75 minute drive brings you into a whole other world. There are vast big skies and painted deserts populated by tough resilient folk who value their independence. Cell phone service is a luxury. It is majestic, serene, grandiose, daunting.

Big skies on the drive to Tecopa

The drive to Tecopa

The geology around Tecopa is complicated by the Amargosa Chaos and there are at least two aquifer sources for the springs in Tecopa.  The water from one Tecopa aquifer comes to the surface at about 118F. It is fairly high in fluoride and arsenic so it’s not recommended for drinking. But it is perfect for bathing! County law requires that you bathe nude so most of the developed springs are enclosed in private or segregated bath houses. There are a few undeveloped springs in the area too – to find those, you will have to go to Tecopa and search for yourself!

Hot Springs Aficionado: hard at work in Tecopa!

Hot Springs Aficionado: hard at work in Tecopa!

Tourist destinations in Tecopa include the famous China Ranch Date Farm (worth a visit!) and four developed hot springs baths: the County Baths, Delights Resort, Tecopa Hot Springs Resort and Petersen’s Resort. All the “resorts” are primarily RV Parks with a few cabins or motel rooms – this isn’t the Caribbean all-inclusive type! The central core of Tecopa is quite pretty, and I am surprised it hasn’t become more of a “destination” town, like Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs or Las Vegas. I’m sure that it will happen one of these days. Right now there seem to be quite a few Korean tourists: Delights Resort has a Korean sign and on the day I went to the county baths, all the other guests were speaking Korean. Amy, the owner of Tecopa Hot Springs Resort, told me that all her rooms had recently been booked by a Japanese Hot Springs Association tour.

There is a strange funky vibe to Tecopa.  Sometimes it seems almost otherwordly.  It’s hard to explain, but maybe this video will help.  It’s from the annual Tecopa Take-over, when artists from Las Vegas book all the hotels and perform for fun. There is lots to see and enjoy in Tecopa as long as you are prepared to leave your cellphone and TV lifestyle behind. Bringing an open, silent mind will help you enjoy your discoveries in Tecopa.

I’ll be writing more about the individual resorts in future posts, so stay tuned to learn more about this funky town and its wonderful hot springs!

This post is one of a series of on the Hot Springs of Tecopa; to see others, click on the links below:

Post #1: Tecopa Hot Springs

Post #2: Tecopa Hot Springs Resort

Post #3:Delight’s Hot Springs Resort

Post #4: Tecopa Hot Springs Campground & Pools

Post #5: Signing Off From Tecopa Hot Springs

Furnace Creek, Death Valley’s Warm Spring Oasis


Death Valley… Just the name makes you sweat. It is one of the hottest and most arid places on the planet, yet in the center of it all is the lush verdant oasis at Furnace Creek. Here in the desert, hundreds of feet below sea level, there are groves of cedars, palms and dates.

Furnace Creek is hot. During the summer months, the Inn closes and there is a reduced staff at the Ranch. But in the winter, this valley is a refuge for the heat seekers. In the early part of the 20th century, Furnace Creek was a destination for those seeking to heal in its warm springs water. Over the years, the marshland that surrounded Furnace Creek was replaced with lawns and golf courses. Today the resort offers bike rentals, tennis, horseback riding and Jeep tours and full service restaurants. There is more of a focus on photography these days, and many hikers can be seen carrying large SLR cameras and tripods into the wilderness.

Warm Springs Fed Pool at the Furnace Creek Ranch

Warm Springs Fed Pool at the Furnace Creek Ranch

But in the midst of it all, there are the warm springs. The spring’s temperature is 85F at the wellhead. By Death Valley standards, this is cool but it does make a lovely pool temperature. The spring is channeled into a pipe that flows directly into the Furnace Creek Ranch’s swimming pool – there are virtually no chemicals in the pool. From the main pool, overflow water is piped to irrigate the golf course and grounds. Although it looks like a regular hotel swimming pool, and is not really promoted as a spring, it is indeed a warm spring oasis in the desert, with a history of giving and healing life.

I decided to spend a few days at the Furnace Creek Ranch to recover from a busy business trip. It was a mid-week in January so it was quiet. The “Saloon” offered a variety of red wines – I ordered one of the three California cabernets they offered, along with a very large and varied cheese plate that was well worth $10.75 I paid for it – it had sweet blueberries, strawberries, grapes, dates, and at least ten different cheeses. It included a spiced smoked Gouda that was particularly good! I sat outside by the fires watching the stars come out and chatting with a young Australian couple about which springs to visit next. I couldn’t help but wonder: what took me so long to become a Hot Springs Aficionado?

I am a Hot Springs Aficionado.  Join me!

I am a Hot Springs Aficionado. Join me!

Living Waters Spa Hotel

Jeff and Judy are your hosts at this “clothing-optional” hotel and spa. Jeff and Judy are naturists and massage therapists who found this perfect location to live their lifestyle. The site is completely private and gated, so it is very secure. You have to buzz to be let in and it is best if you call ahead to make sure there is someone to greet you.Displaying 20141112_093628.jpg

The spa consists of one swimming pool and one large jet pool. Both pools are fed by the Desert Hot Springs underground aquifer, which provides 105F water at the Living Waters well head. The jet pool is maintained at about 100F, while the swimming pool is in the high 80s.   You can spend all day in the pools, or lounging beside them in the warm desert sun. I spent a few days here working on my tan, lured by the excellent kitchen facilities. I was able to make all my own food while I was here, and never really felt the urge to leave the compound.

I spent most of my time on the pool deck, being buzzed by the resident hummingbirds. There are quite a few of them vying for territory around the bird feeder, so sometimes I felt I was in a mini war zone with mini jet fighters engaging in dog fights around my head!  It was fun – I’d never spent so much time with hummingbirds in my life, and they are truly beautiful up close.

There is a great view of Mount Jacinto from the pool deck. I loved watching its colours change from dawn to dusk, all oranges and pinks and purples.

Most bathers here bring a good book and spend the day relaxing and focusing on tranquility. The compound is not huge, so you are fairly limited to being in your room or on the pool deck. It forces one to relax! I went for hikes every morning in the nearby hills as my daily dose of activity. Living Waters is located close to downtown, so there are lots of services within a short drive.

The hotel consists of nine rooms with full, well equipped kitchens.   The rooms have only one entrance, the patio doors which open on to the pool deck, so be prepared for a certain lack of privacy. There is wifi, but there are no televisions, so it is very quiet and peaceful. After a few days the absence of electronic stimulation seems very strange, disconcerting even. There is nothing but you, the waters, the hummingbirds. Your mind focuses on small natural items or sensations. The focus here at Living Waters is very much on lifestyle, mindfulness and naturism. Shutting off and relaxing is the norm. Jeff and Judy also lay out a full breakfast every day and provide fun theme meals for special occasions such as Oktoberfest or Thanksgiving.

The day spa is open from 10:00 am to 5:00pm so during that time there are more people. In the evenings, there are only the hotel guests so it is very peaceful.

http://www.livingwatersspa.com/hot_mineral_water.htm

https://www.facebook.com/LivingWatersSpa

 

The mineral content of the spring water is:

Sulfate 493.60
Sodium 268.60
Bicarbonate 129.00
Chloride 120.50
Silica 46.4
Calcium 45.10
Fluoride 5.30
Magnesium 5.10
Iron Oxide – trace
Aluminum Oxide – trace
Barium – trace
Copper – trace
Manganese – trace
Total Dissolved Hardness 110mg/l
Calcium Hardness 144mg/l
ph (units) – 8.3
Specific Conductance (mphos) – 1803
 

Buckeye Springs: All natural, au naturel!

Buckeye Springs, California, 7200 ft (38°14’22.1″N  119°20’28.8″W)

Buckeye Springs are completely natural. Completely! Depending on the day, you probably won’t need a bathing suit here, but you will need good rock scrambling shoes to clamber back up the hill to your car. And you will need a car to get here – Buckeye is completely off the beaten track. Bring lots of drinking water, and be prepared for an altitude of 7200 ft.

To get to Buckeye Springs, you will have to travel a fair distance down some backcountry dirt roads in the remote eastern Sierra Nevada. You will start in Bridgeport (pop. 575), then head up for about a 30 minute drive into the mountains. While you are in Bridgeport (http://www.bridgeportcalifornia.com/), stock up on water and food. Make sure to bring lots of water!

On the road to Buckeye Springs

On the road to Buckeye Springs

Enjoy this very scenic drive, the views from the mountainside are fabulous! From the 395 in Bridgeport, just past the Gas &Go (water!), you will turn left onto Twin Lakes Road. Follow this road up the mountain for about 7 miles until you see Doc and Al’s Camp and Cabin Resort (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Doc-Als-Resort/472867532765517) – then turn right onto Buckeye Road.

A short while after you decide that you missed a turn and have become completely lost, the road will hook down to a bridge and ta-daa, the springs will appear! For detailed directions on how to get there, click here http://hotspringsoak.com/buckeye-hot-springs.html .

As you cross the bridge over Buckeye Creek, you will see the springs. The parking lot is at the top of a little hill and you have a short scrabble down some very steep scree to the pools. The hot water emerges from the hillside and as you scramble down you will see little rivulets streaming down the rock face. Be careful, some of these rivulets are hot!   Remember to keep enough energy at the end of the day to get back up this hill – it’s not an easy climb at this altitude after a few hours in the hot water.

From the rock face, the spring water drips into Buckeye Creek. The hot spring water mixes with the cool creek water to make warm water pools. One of the fun things about Buckeye is that you get to develop it yourself: the pools are made by moving rocks around until you get a mix that is just the right temperature for you.   There are usually a few people there, so the pools get moved around as the day goes on.   This is a great place to spend an afternoon, or have a picnic lunch. Since these springs cater to young or young at heart nature lovers, some of the bathers also enjoy natural herbal products in the peaceful atmosphere.

On the day I visited, there were eight people who came and went over a few hours. The atmosphere was very friendly, relaxed and open. All of us were nature freaks who had gone a fair distance to come to these springs. There was only one local: a man in his 60s who lived nearby and took great pride in the springs, meticulously moving the rocks around so we could all have the perfect temperature. One visitor was David, who had been hiking the nearby Pacific Crest Trail for months and told some great stories of his backcountry experiences on the trail. Thierry and Éliane were French students who were spending the summer visiting the United States and had stumbled upon someone who had suggested they come here. We built up a lot of camaraderie in just a few hours.

The pools are not very deep with only about 18” of water, but deep enough to lie down in and be fully covered. The environment is exquisite, Buckeye Creek is more of a river here, babbling along with almost musical notes through the rapids. At one point, some children came to fish from the bridge close enough that we could hear their laughter in the background. The air is crystal clear, with the smell of pine mixed with a little sulfur from the springs. The experience of sitting in this perfect mountain wilderness, sharing tales in the warm water was a little slice of heaven.

Buckeye is remote, so we had made sure to bring a picnic lunch. Ours was low key, in keeping with the environment, chicken salad sandwiches with a White Zinfandel. It was the perfect pairing!

With darkness falling we decided to leave and we found it a little difficult to get back up the scree to our car. But with one final burst of energy, we made it, then flopped down puffing in the parking lot – I am so terrible at altitude!

If you want to spend a few days in the beautiful eastern Sierra Nevada, you can camp in the National Park Services Buckeye Campground. Buckeye Springs is just within the limits of the vast Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and nearby trails lead into Yosemite National Park. Or you can stay at the nearby Doc and Al’s Resort.

Click on these links to plan your trip to these remarkable hot springs!

http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_Review-g32110-d523510-Reviews-Buckeye_Hot_Spring-Bridgeport_California.html#photos

You can stay at the nearby Doc and Al’s Resort (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Doc-Als-Resort/472867532765517)

Or camp in the National Park Services Buckeye Campground (http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/htnf/recreation/ohv/recarea/?recid=65272&actid=29)

 

Nearby attractions:

Travertine Hot Springs:

Mono Lake and County: http://www.monocounty.org/

Bodie ghost town (about 1 hour drive): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodie,_California

Mammoth (about 1 ½ hour drive): http://www.visitmammoth.com/things-to-do/