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Deep Creek Hot Springs

The Moon is Waning Gibbous (99% of Full)


Trip Report Friday 10/28

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October 29, 2011 01:24PM
Made it out to the springs yesterday. I wanted to post before the Saturday free hike announced on the board for today, but was too tired from the day last night to sit down and write. It was a beautiful day. Given the dwindling sunlight and shorter days, I got out there as early as I could. I arrived in the high desert and to the Bowen Ranch around 8 am, or just after. As I drove up into the high desert, at the top of the El Cajon pass I saw a nasty accident - one of those huge fit for giants SUVs pulling a similarly supersized trailer had managed to flip both elements over, upside down. I passed a billboard for a bank that listed the temperature at 37 degrees at that time. I don't think it could have been quite that cold, but upon arrival at Bowen while the sun was shining bright and warm, the air temp on my car thermometer was at 43 degrees. It was beautifully cold. I decided with the sun it would be interesting to free hike no matter - wonder what the free hikers this morning, Saturday, thought of the chill, though perhaps it has warmed up today. When I arrived at Bowen, there were just two cars parked in the lot, and another SUV over at a camping site with two tents set up. Thought it would be empty down at the springs.

Roads: Bowen Ranch road is a bit better than my last trip out, end of September. I think they might have graded the road from the gate to the Ranch, the last two miles; it was much better and ironically the bumpiest bit now with the most ruts is the first mile after turning onto Bowen from Ocotillo. However, the hopes that the road from the Ranch house down to the parking lot would be repaired or graded - this has not materialized. It is getting dangerous for 2WD cars to do this, though I am getting more and more skilled myself at how to balance and drive my car across what is essentially no longer a road with holes and rocks that could take out your undercarriage. Getting out is harder than getting in, hopefully the road will be fixed soon or after the next winter before next spring. I'm sure it would be good for business! Anyway I am increasingly certain I need to obtain a Jeep.

The free hike down was glorious. And, as I said, cold. Until I got a good pace going, my hands immediately numbed up - and I run hot, hardly ever get cold. I passed no one and saw no one until the end, hardly even any critters. It was like being the only thing on the planet. Another hiker arrived just around the time I got to the creek by another path, I think it was Hippie Dave, though who could recognize him all bundled up. There were some rock climbers climbing the backside of the overlook that towers over the springs on the Ranch side. There were obviously some folks on the beach, but no overt sign of campers or fires (some guys lit a fire later in the day, given the dry season, really wish people would cut that shit out). As opposed to empty, I would say there were around 14 people around the springs when I arrived. The creek water surely has cooled off, but given how cold the air was, it didn't feel cold when I waded across to the springs (later in the day as the air warmed up I would change my mind, maybe the water is 60 degrees now? Maybe cooler? Very few swimmers today at all.) The Womb was full of four or five guys, I sat in the pool just below to warm up. Saw Hippie Dave was there, and he was with Camper Dave and a girl in the Anniversary pool. So things were crowded and I made my way over the Arizona pool which was empty. Three women, I think they were the rock climbers were changing and getting ready to hike out nearby. But the pool was empty, in the shade still at 8:30 or 9 am, steaming hot and steaming in the cold desert air. It was one of the best soaks I have ever had at DCHS, and I eventually got warmed up enough to start going back and forth between the freezing creek and the pool, you can feel every pore open and then shut.

The day was quiet. Never more than 15 people or so. Most everyone was always nude. There were a lot of dogs, but they were all sweet and mellow and stayed out of the pools. Mostly older dogs. One a 14 year old Border Collie. If I can hike to the springs when I am 98, if I am alive when I am 98, I will be a happy man. I seemed to adopt two mini Collies that belonged to three guys from San Francisco, young guys, the campers from Bowen Ranch in the tents I saw upon arrival. They were all over the place but the dogs wanted no part of it, and snuggled up next to my towel in the sun or shade.

Womb was perfect once I got in. You could soak pretty much all day in there, and someone had brought a springs float that was sitting in the pool too. All the pools were in great shape, and I thanked Hippie Dave for the cement work he has done with others out there. The sun only hit the Womb after around 2 pm, and it was never really too strong.

Most started hiking back out around 4 pm. As did I. I think by the time I left, there were only the SF guys left and maybe one or two other couples who had arrived late in the day. Free hiked out, passed no one, saw no one until I got back to the ORV road at the bottom of the big hill down from Bowen. One of the older springers had set up a campsite next to his Jeep that looked pretty impressive. I considered the fact that I need a Jeep once again. No one at Bowen when I returned, cleaned up and headed out. Seemed like the quiet and the peace was about the change a little though, as I drove out, before even reaching the livestock barrier two miles from the ranch I passed in rapid succession a Ford Edge, a Hummer, a Land Rover and a Camaro all making for the Ranch will lots of people. Have a great weekend all. Soak early, soak in the freezing cold, you won't regret it.

Trip Report Friday 10/28

neogeo2626October 29, 2011 01:24PM

Re: Trip Report Friday 10/28

Johnny895October 29, 2011 07:37PM

Re: Trip Report Friday 10/28

neogeo885October 30, 2011 01:28AM

Re: Trip Report Friday 10/28

SilverAvion867October 29, 2011 07:47PM

Re: Trip Report Friday 10/28

Wizard905October 30, 2011 09:04PM

Re: Trip Report Friday 10/28

neogeo1308October 31, 2011 09:40AM

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