We found it! We traveled to the barren and unforsaken Death Valley National Park. Our destination was an oasis hot spring in the middle of Saline Valley, just a speck on the map of Death Valley. After landing in Big Pine and sleeping one night we traveled three hours over the mountains ridge on unpaved roads to the vast valley floor.
The car ride felt like a hike through unknown territory with the rolling hills and flat vastness everywhere. My partner, my love Jason has recently healed from a broken leg that he suffered from at the end of July and had during our Oregon Eclipse adventure. We have never done this car camping adventure before because we had preferred finding California gems like this on foot. After years of talking about Death Valley, and the recent limited ability to adventure by foot, we went searching for the hot springs of Saline Valley. The best part was having our daughter explore with us!
Pictures after this first arrival were limited because of nudity everywhere and exclusitivity. Some of the tubs were lined with large quartz crystals, colorful geodes and art everywhere. This place was well taken care of by old hippies and possibly burners (people who attend burning man). The location and conditions were not for the faint of heart. Whoever made it here seem to understand radical self reliance, hot tub etiquette and was there to enjoy the natural setting.
And let me tell ya, the natural setting made it a very magical place to be. Our first night there we all got to see the November full moon rise over the valley. We enjoyed laughter, wine, folk music and new friends in the tub under the full moon. There is honestly nothing like bathing outside under the stars.
The next day was spent sunbathing and playing with Andromeda while her daddy and I took turns soaking. The weather was perfect with no strong gusts of wind and not a chill in the air. I felt like the community was a nudist colony. If anyone was willing to go as far as this should be deserving of a natural experience like nudity. We actually fit in quite well. The only troubles we had were to make sure the burros were not ransacking our camp. The wild but gentle burros (donkeys) were after our apples and crackers back at camp.
The most memorable moment I had was when I woke up early on the day we were leaving to soak before the sunrise. I had always wanted to see the sunrise in Death Valley because a desert sunrise is just everything magical. I got to do just that from a hot tub named The Sunrise for its prime location. I got out of the comfy truck bundled up with a towel in hand. I walked over to the sunrise tub when Venus was still very bright in the early morning sky. So bright it looked like a hovering UFO over the mountains! I arrived to the tub and there was no one there. I looked up and could see the bright waning moon about to set. I sat in the hot tub by myself, meditating, observing the colors in the sky. Venus started to fade as it continued to rise above the mountains and get dimmer as the sun brightend the sky. The sunrise on my left was warm colored as the sky faded to blue. The moon set to my right was cool colors of dark purple faded to indigo and blue. As the tub began to fill with other humans also wanting to catch the first sun rays of the day, I felt I had my time. I walked back to my little family and enjoyed the start of our day together. We gathered and packed up our camp to leave.
I feel that moments in nature like this help me connect to the greater meaning of the human experience. I can’t really describe my feelings in these moments but I can only tell the stories of how I search and find magical places like this. The reward outweighs the challenges. I encourage anyone who reads this to get out. Go beyond your comfort level and be trusting of your abilities. Go searching for an oasis.