Location: Travertine HotSprings off 395
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey
Driving back into California, Arizona and I were nestled within the sharp bosom of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The scenery captures your mind of the towering mountains and I feel more connected with my surroundings here, more so than the woods of Eugene. The Sierra Nevadas have a transcendentalist effect on me, evoking the wildest possibilities.
It was around 11:30am when we made it to Travertine hot springs. A place Arizona used to travel to with her family and the volcanic water brings back memories for her. In it’s brilliance you can smell the sulfur swooping into the air as the mountain views are sloping on the ridges of the sky. The hot water trickled down the rocks drip by drip, filling the pool with the dissolved minerals. The air is cooler here than most places that combined with the water from the springs, your body is brought to a relaxed state.
The wild brush grows haphazardly along the trails to the hotsprings. You walk up the rocky path towards the flatlands. Arizona and I immediately begin removing our clothing. As we strip down to our underwear others begin to arrive. The thing is when you are encapsulated by the natural wonders that is wilderness the instinct to shed off layers from society can be great. And, honestly there is nothing against no shirt and shoes here.
As we took our place in among the geothermally heated water other folks began to arrive. Two men and two women. No names were given as they too began to shed their clothing and enter the pools with us. The sun was rising high into the shear blue skies, our skins enjoying the heated Earth straight from the mantle. These folks were travelling as part of their way of life. Nomads and van life. One man possessed a longish beard braided down with his mustache. The other had a ginger handle barred mustach. The two women wore long blond hair, blending down their bare skin. One woman spoke of a gypsy woman she had met most recently in Darwin, CA.
“Have you ever been to Darwin?” She asked me, slowly spinning around in one of the hot spring pools.
“Nope.” I smile, shaking my head.
“I met this Gypsy woman who told me that my van had fairies visiting me. So I did the only thing I could for the wee folk. I built a small door in my kitchenette for them to visit so they don’t get trapped!” She smiled childlike as she looked at me.
“Not the only reason why you should go to Darwin.” The braided mustached gentleman leaned over from the next pool. “Darwin is a small little zombie ghost town filled with trippy artists and weed. If you get a chance, look for a guy named Howl. He’s an old folk from the sixties generatation you will definitely want to smoke a bowl with.”
“Really? What is he like?” Genuinley curious I wanted to know more about this mysterious Howl before I convinced Arizona to make a major possibly detour.
“You will have to go and find out.”
We all sat in silence for a while, meditating in the vast openness while the mountains watched us, rising above. Soon the band of folks left Arizona and I by ourselves to the warms waters of Travertine.
“Should we go to Darwin?” I laughed looking back at the trail the strangers had disappeared down.
“Next trip maybe. We still have this journey.”
“And this most amazing view to drink in.” I chimed as I continued to dream about my future and my own reality on this journey.