My newest great adventure took on a whole new directions this time. For the most part up till this point it was all about the cities. Now I was finally visiting the hot springs where my friends had spent a snowy winter as caretakers. This was not Ben and Melissa’s first winter at Goldmyer and now that the world deep in the Washington state woods was all thawed out, they were having a birthday party for all us summer birthday folks. We would have the ancient redwood forests all to ourselves.
To get there is an adventure in itself as it involved driving my little Yarris at far as it could “safely” go on a heavily potholed dirt/rock road. I made it about 10 miles. At this point most visitors to the springs must hike in the rest of the way. This could be 5 to 18 miles depending how far your car can go. So, best to take a 4 wheel drive truck (and with a chain saw in the winter). We lucked out though in that we were carrying lots of food and banjo for the party, so Melissa picked us up in Ben’s mighty truck. That was certainly the craziest road I’ve ridden on so far. Some sections are actually not road but a dry creek bed. Fun stuff.
I camped by the river that pulled me into slumber with it’s constant shhush. Much tasty food was made, dangerous seesaws were constructed and tested, metal remains of mining and mid last century cars hid in the wood and rusted into the soft ground, wishes were made around the Grandpa Tree, many creatures were spied and the 4 pools at the springs shimmered. Three progressively hotter pools, one of which was a 30 foot cave and a cold plunge. The cave was dark and when you stood in it to feel your way to the back, the steaming water was waste high. You could float and swim in there and sing from the bench in the back.
Trees falling in storms is not uncommon (hence the chainsaw) last winter a redwood, predicted to be over 450 years old, fell. Fifty feet to the right and it would have landed on the caregivers cabin. Ben and I walked the length of the fallen giant. It was a challenge to simply climb on top of the horizontal trunk. So many rings of life. We walked to the place where the tree had split. Two tall sharp wings had split off in the fall and now shot up 30 feet from the ground. The sun shone through like a cathedral of nature and life. I didn’t get a picture of this but I didn’t need to.
I could have stayed there SO much longer. I started looking at a catalog of possible caretaker jobs. A life of artist residencies and care-taking in the beautiful places on Earth sounds pretty good to me.