Friday, November 11, 2016

Southern Soaking Adventures

Another recent adventure... A day off of work to go adventuring in the south lands with my hot springs birding buddy. First stop, the desert just north of Delta Utah for a trip to Baker Hot Spring, another place that has been on 'the list' for a while. A lovely little spring in the middle of nowhere. Someone at sometime built some concrete soaking tubs, April said that she read somewhere that it was the site of an old brothel. The tubs were fairly algae coated, but the water was nice, having a cold spring and hot spring in the same locations allows for mixing some nice temperature water

We had stopped at the BLM office at Little Sahara to ask directions to Baker, the fellows there advised us not to go, they said it was sketchy and trashy and some weird constitutionalist were living nearby. Off in the distance you can see the power plant near Delta, and other than that there is one crazy looking homestead just up the road. Post trip googling indicates the 'resident' is a bit of crazy fellow living on his grandparents land trying start some sort of mormon hot springs commune, but apparently he might be in jail at the moment. There was one fellow staying there in his homemade camper truck, he proved to be nice fellow from the midwest who retired to travel. He gave us his calling card with a photo of his unusual truck (he thought people would remember that better than him) that said "Vagabond, have truck will travel". I'm now on his email list, so I can updates on interesting places to travel. I always enjoy meeting interesting people while out on adventures!

The funny moment of the morning was when April suddenly blurted out "Llama". "Huh?" I responded, and she said "Llama" again and pointed. Sure enough there was beautiful llama walking around eating the tender vegetation that sprouted around this oasis in the desert. Rumor has it the llama was enlisted by local, presumably the crazy guy, to guard his goats from coyotes, and has since gone off on a desert walkabout. Ah... gotta love the strange things you find in the desert.

After our soak we travelled west on a beautiful paved road through the desert heading to what seemed like nothing, no ranches, nary a cow. We stopped briefly at Topaz Mountain (another place on my list) for a little bit of rock hounding, but left empty handed. We mused that it was interesting that road going nowhere was so nice, and took that road until the pavement just ended. From here we headed up over a mountains for another 23 miles passing numerous old and maybe somewhat active mine sites. I guess mining was the reason for the paved road to nowhere? After cresting the mountains we arrived at our destination, Fish Springs Wildlife refuge came into view. Water seemed low and not being the best season for birding the diversity was not spectacular, but we did see a lot of coots and think this will be a pretty great birding spot in the spring. Surprisingly we were not alone out in this remote location. There were runners on the road! The refuge was the turn around spot for the Pony Express 100 miler... so we got to cheer along some crazy ultrarunners before heading on the long drive home.

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