I hiked to Goldmyer Hot Springs, a 9-mile round trip hike. The hike itself was easy; there was hardly any elevation gain. The drive there, however, was another story. The road was full of rocks and huge potholes. A high clearance SUV is absolutely required to drive over the teeth-clattering road. It took more than 30 minutes of careful maneuvering to make it to the trailhead. Thankfully, J’s friend is an excellent driver.
The hike started at the Dingford Creek trailhead. A few minutes in, we passed by a raging waterfall, at its peak flow from the melting winter snowfall.
Throughout the hike, there were deep puddles on the trail. Some puddles spanned the entire width of the trail. The puddles were clearly a year-round obstacle, not just present because of the rain. We walked along worn paths that branched from the main trail, circled around the puddles through vegetation, then rejoined the main trail.
When we arrived at the springs, we checked in with the two caretakers. The caretakers said their roles were filled by volunteers, and that they needed volunteers for June. I pondered what a brief stint would be like as a caretaker, isolated in a cabin (with satellite dish!) in the middle of the woods. There was no cell phone signal, but there were hummingbirds flying to and from the cabin’s feeders, their flaps making a loud hum like that of a winged insect times ten.
Only twenty people are allowed to visit the springs each day. I had actually been trying to visit the springs for a couple years now, but weekends are always fully booked the week of. Luckily, J’s friends booked months in advance.
The springs were small and delightful, with only the faintest smell of sulfur. The springs consisted of three hot pools. The top pool was in a cavern that could very well have fit all twenty people, albeit uncomfortably. The top pool flowed into a middle pool that was shallow and could fit three people. The middle pool flowed into the lowest pool, which could fit about five people. The water was hottest in the deepest part of the top pool cavern, then the water cooled as it flowed outwards and downwards to the lower pools. There was also a separate, freezing pool.
I enjoyed the visit. Having to hike 4.5 miles in the rain certainly made the springs more rewarding. I would go back, if only I could get a permit!