Hot Pots and Doggie Shots

By December 18, 2019 January 7th, 2020 Campsites, Excursions

 We enjoyed time playing in the Bay area with family and friends, but the tug of  the road is a bug not easily shaken.  Our path again crossed the Sierras, this time west to east.  The craggy side of the mountains loomed to the right as we made our way down California’s Owens Valley, and into its caldera of boiling waters.

After a consult with the local BLM office, we headed up a road that he had implied was snow-free. We found, instead, a sleigh path up and around a mountain with feet of fresh snow and nasty 12 degree slopes.  With nippy mitts, we strapped on the chains and pulled Creaky Betty the remaining 3 miles, across rickety bridges and off camber icy spots to our goal.

Buckeye Hot Springs!  Given the haul up and over, we weren’t surprised to be the only campers on the hill.  We tucked next to a weathered Ponderosa, and set out to explore the area.

The view looking back up the valley.  Trailheads abounded, but all were in the snowline.  Without gaiters and snowshoes, we were going to have to find other, less snowy, forms of entertainment.

We climbed further up a rise, and as we did, saw that the spring must lay on the downslope of the knoll to the left of frame.  We headed down the bluff in question.

At the bottom of the hill, Buckeye Creek ran under ice to spill out next to the springs.

There it was! A column of boiling water jetted from a rent in the rock, then ran down its own flume to spill off a multihued waterfall into a divine soaking pool that ran about 104 degrees!

We wasted no time getting started on our therapy package.  For three  days and nights we soaked our aching bodies in the tub.  At night, the temp dropped drastically, but the hot waters were a blanket to that kept us warm and cozy.

Immersing our heads under the 120 degree shower off the rock was a refreshing scalp singe.  Jumping into the icy creek and then back into the pool left us pink and tingly.

Sunset on the third day spreads out over the northern Owens Valley.

A noise in the bush alarms both pet and mate.

Day 4 we uprooted and trudged our way back around the snowbound mountain.  Along the way we helped dig out a 4×4 that had slid off the trail.  A little later, after clearing the road of a very out-of-place Honda Fit, we hit the pavement and made our way south on 395.  Past Mono Lake and skirting Mammoth Ski Mountain, we came into the Owens Caldera.  We jolted our way down a rough road past the incredible eastern slope of the Sierras.

Following wisps of steam that stood out on the grey horizon, we found a little pull off 1/4 mile up from a little pool.

We were camped directly above the cold springhead that flowed onto the caldera and formed numerous shallow lakes.  The hot pool we called out own was just down a trail along the rise.

Welcome to the Crab Cooker!  After a couple soaks and much relaxation, we wrapped up the hot spring festivities, loaded up our operation and bounded out for more adventures further south.