ARIZONA HOT SPRINGS
Whilst in Vegas, this year we decided to hire a car so we could go travel – we were going over to Santa Monica and LA to visit a very good friend, Julian. You can read more about that here!
We decided to keep the car when we returned to Vegas, and to make the most of seeing what the desert had to offer. We drove out to Lakemead and the Hoover Dam, realising that there was in fact a lot more to offer! I did some research and discovered that the Arizona Hot Springs were less than an hour’s drive, and a couple of hours walk through the desert. Grizzly is not a fan of the walking and the ‘general adventure’ in this that I like, but he gave me this one and agreed to go along with me! So, we stopped off at the Ranger’s office and got the information we needed to follow the easier of the two routes – we were not really equipped for canyoneering through the route, which I truly wanted to do!
And so we parked the car, applied P20 Sun Protection (more about that here) and set off into the desert. We walked through what I can only describe as a natural storm drain, which I imagine did rather well in recent floods!
As we set off down the track, I became more and more excited, almost skipping along the way. We were warned previously that there had been some heavy rain and that it had washed away parts of the track, so we had to proper keep our eyes peeled to see the next marker and literally head straight to it. As she put it, we started to believe that we had gone the wrong way; even though we knew this wasn’t really possible – but when you’ve never worked in the desert before you don’t really have true pre-she Sheen to how fast it can be. As we got closer and closer to the Colorado River, knowing that it was literally less than a mile away, we entered into the canyons. We walked through the majestic red sandstone rocks and clambered over small crevices and boulders; as we made our way down the path, flashbacks to watching 127 Hours just added to the adrenaline, as I saw – starting to skip down little slides and in between rocks, and two hours in – our first bit of water!
Within another five minutes, we came across the first of the three hot springs. I’ve never been so excited to see something (that I had started to believe didn’t exist), that as we jumped straight in, we jumped straight back out again! It was boiling hot…I’m talking HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT. Now we understood why this was the first week that the trail had been open since the summer – apparently you can actually boil to death, if you went on a certain other route! It creates a wind tunnel, and with the excessive heat it feels as though you are being forced into a hot air gun. So, we counted to three and legged it through the first pool straight into the second adjoining pool, which was a much more manageable temperature than the first. This one spanned the bend in the path, and as you round the corner it dropped into a third, more open pool. This was a very mild temperature which was perfect to sit in – we would have loved to have spent more time in the warmer pool as well as this larger pool. But…we spotted a ladder that went over the cliff and down the side of a waterfall, and decided while we’re here, let’s go and see where that goes! So off we went again.
Grizzly went off and down the ladder (which surprised me, considering how scared of heights you know he is!), so while I plucked up the courage to take the first step over the edge, I shuffled further towards the ladder. Just as I thought ‘Right, that’s it! I’m going in!’, two men appeared over the top of the ladder scaring the heck out of me! Both perfectly friendly chaps, who were equally as surprised to see me stood there at the top of the ladder! One guy was wearing the worst pair of Crocs I had ever seen in my life, and at this moment I thought ‘Hey, if you can do it in those, think of the things I can do!’ So I took a deep breath, and I stepped over the edge.
As I made my way down the ladder, it was rather scary. I’m not one for heights in the slightest, and this was definitely a challenge for me. There’s no safety equipment – just a really rickety old metal ladder – so, you can imagine how slippery my mind is telling me it must be when it’s wet!
As you take the steps down the ladder, the waterfall is gushing down next to you and splashing in your face (it’s far more amazing than the way I am making this sound) – how liberating and cooling it was to step out of the hot pools of water, into the desert sun, and then refreshingly cool down by this magnificent body of water.
Once you reach the bottom it’s a very strange feeling…almost as though you’ve left the desert behind. There are white pebbles which seem to separate themselves from the cliff – bearing in mind that the rest of the rock you’ve just been clambering through is of a red variety. There’s trees and foliage as you follow the winding path for around ten to fifteen minutes (tops), and then suddenly it just opens out completely into what is almost a pebbled beach with the Colorado River in sight.
I don’t think Grizzly has ever seen me be so excited to see water before! I bounded over like a puppy dog to plunge my feet into the beautifully clear river.