Over the years we have visited several hot springs. Most have been commercially operated with large pools and some facilities. Last year I decided we would try to visit some of the more natural springs on our 2018 trip through the Northwest.
We tried our first one Monday. The Travertine Hot Spring is about 25 miles north of Lee Vining just off of Highway 395. It is on National Forest land, but it is free to visit.
The access road is about a mile of gravel with some washboard areas. It ends at a parking area with a pit toilet for a dressing room if you need one.
From there the walk is quite short, but rocky and was hard to walk on when we returned with wet rubber sandals. We wore our swim suits, and I seriously wished for at least one of my trekking poles.
Each of the four sequential upper pools will accomodate two soakers if they are friends. The first was too hot for anyone, and the next two were occupied, and the last was not very warm.
We were directed to another pool across a muddy area. There were no defined paths. As we crossed this space there were a few places where the mud was covered with water. As I crossed, my rubber sandals kept getting stuck in the muck and I was very much afraid of doing a spectacular face plant in the mud. Then I had an "Ah-ha" moment, and took them off. Bare feet in squishy mud. I felt like a kid. Fun!
In this picture, the rocky depression is the actual hot spring that filled the front pool, which ranged from one to three feet deep with a foot of silky mud on the bottom.
The temperature of the water was about 100° in the middle and about 106° at the top of the inlet. Once in, the silky muck felt rather therapeutic. I slathered my shoulder with mud, and although I did not submerge it, I did scoop lots of hot water over it. My other old joints: knees, elbows, hands, felt pretty good. Hey, don't they charge big bucks to get a mud bath at a swanky spa?
All in all it was a fun experience. Next time we go to a natural hot spring I'll carry my trekking poles to help me get in and out if necessary. I'm just not very flexible anymore and find that since I hurt my shoulder I am leery of falls. Getting old!
We finished the day with a very nice lunch at a little Mexican restaurant called "Three 95 cafe". It got five stars on Yelp about Bridgeport. Well deserved for such a small town.
Wednesday is a travel day. Our destination is the Walmart in Susanville CA, after a fuel stop and shopping at Trader Joe's in Reno.