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Deep Creek Hot Springs

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6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

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June 21, 2013 11:25AM
Returned yesterday to Deep Creek. I haven’t been in a long while - last trip was in March, when it was colder, and hiking in then I took the Bradford Ridge route. So I also returned to Bowen Ranch this time, which I enjoy for it is a fun drive with the exception of Bear Valley Road, and a much more beautiful hike than most of the Bradford route.

The downside, I’ll say out of order and right away, is how trashed and full of graffiti the trail has become since my last visit. A-holes need to stop defacing nature. It’s getting bad.

The place needs some “official” or semi-official “leave no trace” and “no graffiti” or “pack out trash” signage. (And I don’t mean the painted “pack out your shit” graffiti that showed up on rocks a few years ago.)

Got on the road as early as I could, made my way out of hazy end-of-June-gloom LA to a high desert that was still pretty hazy. Arrived to the Ranch around 8:30 am. As reported on Jobe’s thread, the first thing I saw before entering the Ranch driveway was, upon rounding a bend, a beautiful nude woman running across the road! Just in front of the ranch driveway! I rubbed my eyes. I’m used to the jackrabbits one sees upon rounding curves in the road at this time of year. But seemingly some folks had arrived at the Ranch at night, and camped just off the road before the driveway. My car surprised the woman as she was getting something from the car, and she sprinted back and dove into her tent. We met later at the springs, she and her friends were full-on naturists, and when I told her I was the car that surprised her we had a laugh about it - as we were all down at the springs nuding it up, so no worries or need for the mad morning dash.

For my part, I took it as a good omen of a pleasant nude day down at the springs. And it was, pretty much.

Bowen Ranch road is nicely graded the first 3 miles, and then terrible or pretty badly wash-boarded the next 3. You will get bounced. The road from the ranch house to the parking is as bad as ever - good luck if you car is not raised up from the ground or 4WD! Many cars that were parked there of course were not, so I may be exaggerating, but man, that road down to parking needs some fixin’.

There were five cars parked upon my arrival at 8:30. One further car, down on the road you cross after descending the first steep hill. I free-hiked in this morning, and usually pass no one. This time, however, I passed at least 8 hikers making their way out, I guess they all must have slept at the creek the night before, but they didn’t have much camping equipment. The weather is such I guess you could just sleep outside with a bag. They were in three groups, 3 then 2 then 3 again.

Arrived at the creek and bathed in the river--barely cool now, really, but not as dried up or as low as I feared it might be this year. Not too many nude folks about upon my arrival, there was a large number of Latino youths and they were quite modest but friendly to me nonetheless. They all seemed to leave pretty soon after I got there, hiking out--there must have been a lot of people sleeping by the creek the night before, though I saw no tents but one in the trees upstream. After their exodus, it was a majority nude day at the springs. Some young couples, families--the funambulist and his clan (the tightrope was set up and provided fun for all throughout the day, though no one but he could walk it)--some regulars, the sprinting nude woman and friends, vacationers doing a road trip from Vancouver. It was at least 50/50 textile-nude at most times, though I might guess it was more nude than textile most of the day, and surely on the beach it was. The textiles, and they were mostly young partying teens, to my surprise kept off the beach, setting up on the rocks above the pools, in the direct sun, or elsewhere. So on the beach it was all nude, and a good vibe, everyone very friendly. Yes there were some dogs, and at times they were annoying--younger ones play fighting and running on people’s towels--but no big problems. Since the Arizona pool was too low for most to soak in, it was given over to a big German Shepherd mix who periodically soaked hard in it all alone throughout the day.

Pools: Arizona was not dug out. Anniversary was great, but in full sun now, so not too much use. I soaked in the Womb all morning when there was shade. It was pretty clean and a great soak. No one used the Crab Cooker or Serenity much, it was too hot. The Contemplation pool got a lot of use. It is now huge, when I was last in it the pool was good for one or two people. Now it can host a crowd, like 8 people or so, and it did at times during the day. It is overgrown with algae, but a really pleasant shaded soak with killer views of the other side of the creek and downriver. I had some time to myself in it later in the afternoon. I was a little trepidatious of spending too much time in it, as I read on the Facebook group for the springs that some complained of a rash after using this pool. So far, nothing has happened to me for using it yesterday so I don’t know what that is about.

The sandbagged areas in the creek are the place to be this time of year. Half hot spring soak, half river refreshment, 100% relaxing, and you will be accompanied by the creek fish. I’ve never seen so many fish in the creek in all my years. They nibble at you constantly, so be prepared for exfoliation. No piranhas that I encountered however. Someone pointed out to me that there is hot water coming out of the base of the big rock outcropping that faces the lagoon and faces toward the Womb and other pools - I didn’t know there was a spring there, and as it gets shallower another creek pool could be made there?

The other big entertainment besides the tightrope was group mud baths. As it usually happens, someone starts with the mud and it spreads like a contagion, everyone wants to do it. Young folk found the mud in the little cave near the shower. Smells very sulfurous there, which surprised me, as I don’t smell sulfur in the Deep Creek springs. You harvest the mud, put it on a rock, and then lather up. I did it, then the Vancouverites did it, it was something to see all the black-painted folk basking like sea lions on the rocks.

The shower was in constant use all day long. Lots of massages, and it was needed to get the mud off the mud bathers. Early in the morning something was stuck in the pipe, affecting the stream (there still was one, it was weak), but seemingly it was removed or made its way out by the afternoon, the stream from the pipe was full-blast by then.

I would say it was pretty trashed down there. Not terrible terrible, but a lot of garbage that just didn’t need to be there. I had my one trash bag with me, 20 gallons, and cleaned the beach area around me as I picked up my own things. Collected cigarette butts a plenty, plastic, some bottles, bottle caps, napkins, unfortunately a tampon (unused! I think!) etc. When I made my way back over to the Bowen side of the creek, I took all the bottles people have been piling up against the rock wall. WTF people?! Pack that stuff out! Glass beer bottles, cans, a Gatorade thing, a big glass (!!) container that was used as an ashtray. I filled my one bag and packed it out, then drove it home to LA and dumped it in my dumpster. And I resented every minute of it! I wish it wasn’t this way, the least people should do who visit the springs is LEAVE NO TRACE that they were there.

The Vancouverites hiked out just before me. They were visitors and so enjoying their hike and the sights I believe, so I lapped them before too long, no matter my increasingly decrepit age. Not long after lapping them I came across a snake in the middle of the trail as I turned a bend. Saw no rattle and it slithered away as fast as it could. I don’t know what got into me but I left the creek at 5:45 pm and was back at my car at the ranch by 6:20 or so, I think--a pretty fast hike for me on the up bit. Felt good. Hiking the Bradford Ridge make the Bowen hike seem like a breeze, perhaps. Beautiful hike out, passed no one coming in hiking down. So maybe it would be quiet last night? I have my doubts. I saw no one but did see some camping-equipment-laden cars speeding down the road as I drove out.

Can’t wait to return.
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6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

neogeo1684June 21, 2013 11:25AM

Re: 6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

DLM769June 21, 2013 06:09PM

Re: 6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

Paul P.653June 21, 2013 09:25PM

Re: 6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

juliankaye778June 22, 2013 08:13AM

Re: 6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

Paul P.702June 22, 2013 09:14AM

Re: 6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

neogeo636June 22, 2013 10:03AM

Re: 6/20 Trip Report (Thursday)

mohave976June 22, 2013 10:13AM



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