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January 02, 2020 04:53AM
TL;DR: (and this is really fucking long) I had an awesome fucking day at DCHS on the first day of the new year.

Happy New Year to everyone here who enjoys spending time past, present, and future at DCHS! You are all bad mofo’s in your own unique way, and I love each and every one of you for that - especially now that I finally got to meet most of you old timers! 😉 I believe 2020 is going to be just about 100% awesome - how could it not?! And having some cool conversations today with some very groovy people only reinforced my optimism. And I must tell you that optimism is a very strange feeling for me to have. At all. My mind has just this past week been blown all to pieces by a book I’ve just finished about the quantum multiverse theory and the fact that it must be true. Which has basically shattered the worldview I’ve carried around since I was a small boy, and replaced it with something much more interesting. Something which gives unshakable grounds for optimism and peace and faith and surrender. But I digress.

Today (well, yesterday by the time this little epic will be complete) I returned to the springs after an absence of far too long, and it was the best day I’ve ever had down there at the crick. (Once again, having an amazing day like today on 1/1 must be a very good sign regarding the year about to unfold itself.) My friend Dennis and I drove up from the fabulous IE in the late morning - we had planned a 7 AM start, but this proved rather ambitious on a New Years morning after our intimate family celebration at his lovely home in Redlands the previous night. Waze did us no wrong, and after roughly an hour and a half of rocking out to the Grateful Dead circa 1970 and some truly excellent conversation (I’m an introvert at heart and, at age 44, decades out of practice with the friendship thing), we approached Bowen Ranch. We kept driving and stayed to the right, and soon saw the bright yellow signs guiding us to the “new place.”

For those of you contemplating a visit in the near future, take heed - the roughly 5.5 miles we traveled on Bowen Ranch Road were difficult at times, for various reasons - persistent mud, several deep puddles which take up 80% or more of the road, washboarding, some serious ruts and valleys, some big obvious holes to be avoided. This was my first journey to the springs in our ‘18 Subaru Outback, and I can tell you I was damn glad to have it - my previous automobile, a Honda Odyssey, would not have finished this leg of the voyage intact. However, the Outback made it to the new parking spot with no trouble whatsoever, and after meeting the pleasant and professional Brett, who gave us a receipt for our entry fee ($10 per head, a very reasonable amount IMO), he proceeded in an ATV to lead us and another vehicle down the hill to the parking area. The layout is very similar to Bowen, but Brett’s property and ESPECIALLY all of his roads are in excellent condition! Besides the mud, which is Mother Nature’s contribution and not to be helped, I can definitely say the roads on his place are in much better shape than the 5+ miles on BR Road leading up to his property.

We pulled into a flat place and climbed out, gathered up our stuff (except for all of my food, which I forgot in the goddamn car) and made conversation with the lovely young couple who had pulled in behind us. (Editors note: I am 44 years old, and therefore with some obvious exceptions to be noted I view most people as “youngsters.”) The short drive down to the parking area was the first time on our way in when I really noticed all of the awesome snow, and it was everywhere! I had been thinking I’d heard that the snow had mostly melted by now, but it was all over the place and it was beautiful. (We don’t get much snow in San Bernardino. But we can definitely see it up on top of the mountains.) The temperature was in the mid-40’s, the sun was shining, there was a gentle cold breeze blowing into our faces, the sky was bright blue with only a few wispy streaks of cloud here and there - in other words, the hike down to the springs was awe-inspiring. And Dennis and I continued our conversation the entire way down the hill, which is another unusual thing for me. (Actually just the fact that I texted Dennis at all, let alone to invite him come with me to DCHS on New Years Day, is very unusual for me. Again, I don’t do friends much. Not since my late teens. But I’m lately trying to change that. And again I digress.)

So we made it to the beach across the creek from the springs, stripped down to our natural state, and began to cross. Pardon my French, but FUCK the water was cold. I do not exaggerate when I say that by the time I stumbled up the gravel slope out of the water and onto a rock, I could not feel my feet. However this problem was very swiftly resolved as I continued walking towards the Womb and my numb feet entered the Crab Cooker stream. Yow - maybe you had too much too fast, or something. And then we dumped our packs and stuff on the rocks and climbed into the Womb. I believe we arrived down at the pools around 11:00 or so.

Along with the young couple who came down around the same time, there was a group of 4 very cool nude regulars and their dog, and a number of Cantonese suit-wearing hikers who had stopped for a morning soak. There seemed to be a handful of tents over on the beach area, otherwise it was a very quiet morning. I spent the first hour or two moving between the Womb and the pool just above it who’s name I forget. The Womb was probably around 105 or 106, just hot enough on a cool early January day. It was incredibly peaceful to lower myself into the hot water to my chin and let the slowly circulating hot water wash away all of my toxins and my worries and my cares. I became truly grateful at that moment (and many more during the afternoon) to be alive, to be a human living on Earth, and to be at DCHS. It’s difficult for me to completely describe how I felt at times, being in that place in nature with cool people and no clothes on and a good buzz. Maybe I don’t have to describe it because you forum dwellers know exactly what I’m talking about.

After a little while of smoking Mother Nature and enjoying the water, an older gentleman wearing a long white beard and nothing else climbed into the Womb with Dennis and I. We started talking right away, and after a few minutes he tells me his name on the forum here is Jobe! Holy shit, I met Jobe! It was so cool to put a face to the name, and to talk to him for some time about his history with DCHS and in other similar but not-as-awesome places. We shared some Mother Nature, we shared some leftover tamales, and we shared some very cool stories.

I especially love coming to DCHS in the winter - it’s usually much less crowded, and the weather is perfect, with the sun never quite making its way over the tops of the rocks. At least, not from the perspective of the main chain of pools. If you walk up the beach, the other pool there gets plenty of sunshine mid-day, but that and the 105+ water temperature was too much for me to handle longer than about 15-20 minutes. Jobe was there, and an older couple who he introduced me to. It was Wizard and his wife D! Wow - first Jobe and now Mister Wizard! If you guys are reading any of this, I’m not fucking around - I really was (and still am) very excited to meet all of you. A pair of gentlemen who seemed to be old friends with these golden jubilee hot springers arrived, stripped, and climbed in with a couple of beers. I forget the names because I suck at names - Caleb I think, and another man who I was told is an accomplished world traveler, which makes me jealous beyond belief because that is the ONE THING I want to do more than anything else in my life, and it’s still as impossible now as it’s always been. I also got to meet Darwin, and a few other folks - it was a larger crowd than I tend to enjoy and I ended up climbing out, but once again I will say that I was super excited to meet all these amazing people who spend their time and money and effort taking care of this beautiful little place for all of us to enjoy - even the drunk yahoos.

As I said, it was definitely time for me to get in some quiet alone time. I walked upstream on the sand and rocks, and found a sandy place in the sun to stretch out. I’m guessing it was around 2:30 or 3:00 by this point, and although the sunshine was still quite warm in that area of the beach and creekside, I could feel that the daylight would be fading soon down at the bottom of the valley. I spent a half hour or so alone in the sun, naked as the day I was born. Except for my hat. And also my T-shirt when it started to get chilly. But mostly naked in the sunshine and trying to make time stand still for just a little bit longer. I’m not sure but it might have worked - did anyone notice that the late afternoon seemed to stretch out just a little bit? (I gotta keep working on that chaos magic stuff. 😂)

Those of you who met me for the first time today/yesterday undoubtedly took note of my exceedingly slender physique. I’ve lost weight recently, I’m down from my normal 175ish probably at least 20 pounds. My 34-waist jeans are very big on me, which isn’t right. But my point is that I have no insulation whatsoever, and when the shadows grew longer and the temperature started to fall, it was time for me to put on my clothes and warm up a little bit. By this time, there were a lot more people at the springs. I didn’t do a head count or anything, but if I had to guess I’d say there were at least 3 dozen people there, give or take. Mostly youngsters, mostly in suits, although there were a few CO folks among them. But Jobe or Wizard can correct my informal census taking efforts. While Dennis enjoyed a few more minutes of soaking in the Womb with a group of youngster couples in suits, I climbed over the rocks to the other side and got baked. Dennis reluctantly got out and got dressed, and it was time to start hiking back out.

Now approximately 30 minutes before we made ready to leave, we had all observed an Italian couple who had somehow reached the water level climbing on the rocks on the far side of the creek. With seemingly little trouble, they worked their way around the rocks and onto the beach on the other side. As I contemplated trying to wade through a waist deep, frigidly cold, scrotum-shriveling creek, I decided that I would strongly prefer to instead expend some degree of effort to find an alternative route back to the trail on the other side of the crick. Dennis and I walked upstream to the first batch of big rocks spanning across the water, and after observing him make his way safely across, I followed him to the steep rock wall on the opposite bank. We slowly climbed the rock, which was of course fairly steep but provided plenty of toeholds and places to grab onto, and after a few tough minutes of climbing straight up, we were within sight of the Bowen trail. So with some effort, and some risky rock climbing, we managed to avoid the icy waters going back. But I don’t know that it would be possible to get down to the springs using the same route - at least not possible for my clumsy ass.

I won’t bore you with the graphic details of the hike back to the car. Just understand that being skinny is in no way the same thing as being in shape. But seeing as how I survived to write this stupid long trip report, you can correctly assume that us two old out-of-shape sedentary white men finally did get back to the car. We made many, many brief stops on our way up, and thoroughly enjoyed the different stages and colors of a brilliant sunset over the rocks. I started the car and the seat warmers, ate much food as quickly as possible, and then we were on our way. The Bowen Ranch Road going back towards civilization seemed to be in better shape than it was that morning - perhaps the effects of the sun all day long helped to bake the mud. I was about 15 minutes from home when my brain decided it was just about time to go to sleep. An emergency Dr Pepper helped me crawl across that last finish line. Dennis’s lovely wife had spent the day with my lovely wife, but I didn’t say a word to anyone when I stumbled through the door. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, do not kiss your wife hello, collapse on the bed and lapse into a coma in less than 20 seconds. I woke up a few hours later and after imbibing the requisite substances and texting an apology each to Dennis and the missus, I started to type out this masterpiece of hot spring trip reportage.

Ok so I guess that’s it for my trip report on January the First, Twenty Twenty. If I forgot to mention it so far, I had an incredible day at DCHS. I spent some desperately needed time in nature, I had hours of conversation with Dennis and my new hot springs friends (which is not something I usually seek out), and I was able to enjoy the company of a significant number of very beautiful women. (I apologize for admitting to being a little bit of a horndog, but a. I’m a guy, b. I’m respectful, and c. I love to look at beautiful women, naked or not. And I can admire a man’s body as well, although that’s not the chief direction where my interests tend to lead. Ahem.) And I feel I should mention to Wizard and Jobe that, although I expressed my intention to come right back down to DCHS in the next few days, I always manage to forget just how punishing the hike back out can be to my sorry ass. But I never forget that, overall, it’s worth it. Anyways if I can talk my wife into coming down with me, maybe Friday or another day in the next week or two, then I will be on my way back down MoFo Hill with a huge smile on my face.

If you made it to the end here, thank you for taking time to read my little report. To conclude I want to say thank you to everyone who shared this day with me. Thank you Dennis for still being my friend after so many years of a lack of interest on my part. Thank you Jobe and Wizard and everyone else for being such cool and friendly people and such great ambassadors, and for your decades of hard work and dedication to DCHS. Thank you Brett for providing a safe and well-maintained place to park and access the creek. Most importantly, and despite the fact I am not a religious man, thank you to the Creator. Thank you for the Earth and for the multiverse and for my life, and thank you for the hot springs and for awesome new friends and for beautiful women and good cannabis. Thank you for the best day of my life in recent memory. Thank you for not giving up on me, even when I wanted to give up on myself. If I was dead, I would have missed out on today, and that would really suck.

Happy 2020 everyone!

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2020 07:33AM by TomFoolery72.

Trip report - 1/1/2020 😎

TomFoolery721644January 02, 2020 04:53AM

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Paul P.672January 02, 2020 11:34AM

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jobe789January 02, 2020 01:22PM

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TomFoolery72735January 03, 2020 01:13PM

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Wizard559January 03, 2020 02:06PM

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Wizard777January 02, 2020 04:06PM

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TomFoolery72496January 03, 2020 01:27PM

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jaybirdsen604January 07, 2020 01:14PM

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Paul P.580January 08, 2020 10:22AM

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juliankaye805January 12, 2020 06:46AM

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