Soaking Zen in 2010 (expanded)

Bog Sunset
Note: Originally posted 12.31.09, Updated 01.02.10

First, I’d like to take a moment to recognize the fallen…

In 2009, we lost the pools at Molly’s Tubs, Vulcan and Rocky Canyon (more). All 3 hot springs are located in Idaho, and all 3 were deconstructed by the Forest Service due to reasoning centered around public abuse and misuse.

Over the last decade Idaho has lost many public hot springs in addition to the 3 above. It's going down in Idaho in almost the exact same way it occurred in Oregon and Washington in the past. Ever heard of Cougar Hot Springs? How about Scenic, Wind River, Bagby, McCredie, Olympic, Austin? These hot springs were all once incredible public soaks. Legendary, in their own right. Epic among hot springer circles. They all are either closed, or feature restricted access, expensive permits and/or excessive vandalism and vehicle break-ins (and of course unreal amounts of trash).

The good news is we can learn from their example, but we don't have much time. Jerry Johnson and Kirkham Hot Springs in Idaho are now closed at night. Skinnydipper has a range of problems; vehicle break-ins, flat tire/vehicle damage, gang fights, excessive trash, drunken and lewd behavior (meaning swinger gatherings). Skinnydipper was actually under nighttime closure for two years ending in 2009. However, it was rarely enforced, and signage was destroyed as fast as it was enacted.

The Moral of the Story

If we can figure out how to keep these sacred places clean and safe, I think we can actually save them. If we let abuse and misuse run rampant, the powers that be will have no choice but to either restrict usage or enact strict access measures.

This brings me back to the post title – Soaking Zen in 2010. This year, clean-up the hot springs before you soak. If there are disreputable folks trashing it up – do something sensible. Say something. Maybe start picking up trash in front of them, or snap a pic of their license plate and report them to the nearest Ranger Station or public lands office.

Believe me, a sweet soak in a natural hot springs feels a lot better this way. Hot springs need protection if they are to be enjoyed by the public for years to come, as it should be.

With that said, I want to express my gratitude to all of the unsung HS heroes. All of the trash picker-uppers, conservation and preservation supporters, volunteers, eco-friendly public land workers, petition signers, bloggers, news anchors and directors and outspoken enviro do-gooders. I thank you, mother nature thanks you and a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts, thank you.

It is not enough to UNDERSTAND the natural world.

The point is to DEFEND and PRESERVE it.

-Edward Abbey

Happy New Year!


Lydia said...

You lead an important crusade. I don't think it's out of line to say you have a holy mission - in the real meaning of the word because nature is holy (to me, to many others).

I put our HSG 2010 calendar on the wall at New Years! The January photo is great. Where is it? Could you email me a list of where each shot was taken, as I don't see them noted (maybe I'm not looking in the right spot).

Happy Happy New Year and many great soaks in 2010. Me? I'd settle for one as that would put me ahead of the past few years!

HSG said...

Thank you so much Lydia! That soak you seek? It's out there, just waiting for you. :)

I am a tad upset at my calendar publisher, they were supposed to include the name/region of each hot springs. I will either post here or will update the calendar listing with all of the pertinent information.

HSG said...

Oh, and BTW... January is none other than Goldbug Hot Springs in Idaho.

Feb. and March are both of Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in Idaho, but each of a different source and pool.

April features Kirkham in Idaho, May Loftus in Idaho.

June and July feature the former pools at Rocky Canyon.

August's is Slate Creek in Idaho's White Cloud Mountains.

September brings us into Oregon with Snively, then back into Idaho's backcountry with Bear Valley in October.

November features Bog Hot Springs in Nevada, and finally December is a tribute to Trail Creek in Idaho.

Dana said...

Thank you HSG (for the post and the info on your calendar. I have it up at my desk at work and was also wondering where that magical January photo was at! I can't wait to make it to this one! Is it hikeable in winter??

HSG said...

Hi Dana,

Thanks for the comment and kind words! Goldbug is quite hikeable during winter. Just make sure to bring good trekking poles and crampons if possible.

Happy Trails!


Related Posts with Thumbnails