It’s About To Get Hot Up In Here

6 June 2014 in Camping, Hiking, Memories, Trails/Hiking, Traveling

I let Lindsay sleep in a little this morning so we got a less than early start. We had no definitive plans for the day and so there was really no need to rush. We slowly packed things up and said goodbye to our temporary home. We had noticed on the map a place called Obsidian Dome and Lindsay is slightly obsessed with volcanic rock so we took a turn off the highway and down a dirt road. A few miles in we found the dome.

Obsidian DomeIt was substantially massive with a deep pile loose obsidian at its base and hulking masses of it touring higher up. We took to the piles like children hunting for Easter eggs. Each specimen was unique and worthy of at least a brief study. We lost ourselves while aimlessly wandering the side of the dome. The large pieces higher up showed signs of their metamorphic natural, the movement of the once liquid flow of rock now frozen in time in waves of black glass. If I could have hauled—without guilt or fine—one of these beautiful pieces back to the truck I certainly would have. But we settled for a few small fragments that we had carefully culled from a larger collection.

From this wondrous place we headed back down into the arid desert—that was already slowly collecting heat from an unhindered sun—towards a mythic cluster of hot springs . Driving down desolate, lifeless roads rekindled thoughts of the previous year we spent in Arizona. Lindsay’s of a different opinion, but I find the desert to be a very inhospitable place. It’s beautiful, but there’s a danger to the beauty. For me it’s a place to visit, but not a place to live. After turning off of the main highway on one of the few roads that cut east further into the desert we passed a creepy, old, green church, then a public pool strategically placed in the middle of nowhere and then there was nothing. Sand and sage brush. A few cattle grate crossings and miles later we turned down an unmarked, gravel road which we followed for a little over a mile.

Hot SpringsNo signs, nothing to identify this area as a destination and not a lonely place to die of thirst and then suddenly out of the nondescript, mostly flat land popped a small parking lot. Well not a lot, but really just a circle of gravel where traffic had gradually won the battle against the landscapes hearty plant life. But there were other cars and a small boardwalk – things that acknowledged we were at least in a place where there was something to see. People were coming and going, families coming in for the day with children and hippies stumbling out. The later’s evening must have been pretty eventful considering there were all sorts of articles of clothing strewn about and abandoned. They appeared as though they hadn’t slept and this was likely the case.

We joined the small clusters of kids and moms and dads, wandering down the rickety, old boardwalk towards a hidden oasis. When we arrived the families quickly occupied the larger pool—which was cooler in temperature—and we attempted to submerge our feet in the nearby—and much hotter—small pool. It was simply too hot. I couldn’t stand it at a depth any deeper than my ankle and so we joined the crowd in the more tolerable pool. Thankfully the family didn’t dawdle and was quickly on their way to their next destination.

Hot SpringsWe were left to share the pool with a middle-aged couple who kept to themselves for the most part. Unfortunately the horseflies in the area were not as courteous and constantly invaded our space, even biting us a few times and drawing blood. It was too hot to spend more than ten minutes fully submerged in the spring—I timed myself—and the flies were too numerous and aggressive to spend a few moments outside of the pool, and so we after a few sweaty soaks we exited and continued on our day.

Another hot spot was just off of our route back and so we stopped off at Hot Creek. Here a seemingly normal creek intersects with a couple of natural hot springs. The pools here are heated well beyond the temperature limits of our bodies and so you aren’t allowed near them. This didn’t stop people from getting as close as they could, which required them to step over the fence and ignore the half dozen large signs which state such actions are not allowed. We enjoyed them properly from a distance. The two pools were ashen white around the rim and a vibrant, light blue in their centers. The waters bubbled and boiling, and apparently at times—not this time—they will shoot geysers up into the air. The creek itself ran along side these pools and was heated by their run off to the point of steaming.

It was now past noon and the sun down in the flat, shadeless desert was beginning to roast our skin so we made one last stop at Silver Lake to have lunch and cool down. As you’ll remember from yesterday Silver Lake is a neighbor of June and Grant Lakes. The steep, jagged mountains that wall this lake in are a stunning backdrop to the lake itself. Their were several others out enjoying the waters, but not too many. We found a nice little spot and ate our leftovers from the Thai restaurant, then I went for a swim and we skipped some stones before leaving. It was a relaxing end to another wonderful weekend.

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