|Caves and Waterfalls!|
|What, me worry?|
|Hot and cold waterfalls!|
At one area we tried to avoid getting our shoes wet, so we hiked part of the way up a cliff face and became stuck. I began to scream like a little girl as what I thought was a rock face turned into a mudflow and washed me down the cliff into the water. Luck was on my side that day though, as cell phones with cameras had not been invented yet and there was no facebook to speak of. I survived by gracefully using the skin from my chest to slow my decent enough to catch a foothold. It was a bit painful to say the least. Go ahead and get your feet wet people, it's worth it.
|The Corn Field|
After having a good cry, we continued on our way to what you will surely agree with me, must be called eden. Right before the area with the very large hotsprings we were about to encounter, there was a ladder, no a rope ladder, no a rope - well, a string really that I was expected to shimmy down and then up again to get out. I held on to the rope and hoped my feet didn't slide out from under me while climbing over the slipperiest rock in existence for about 10 feet. Now, I didn't die and I didn't fall, the rope didn't break and nothing of consequence happened here but it could have, and that's what matters.
My friend was now telling me that the springs were right up ahead and was sounding serious this time so I was getting excited. We climbed up some really steep rocks and low and behold, we found it. Hot waterfalls from 50 feet up high, deep crystal blue, white sand bottom, just the perfect temperature hot spring pools and naked, Playboy quality women. Bathing and washing up in said waterfalls. Naked. Women. Playboy. What? We both peered over the rocks in complete silence just watching the scene before us in shock and awe for a very long time. What was happening here? I thought that what had really happened was that I
HAD fallen from the cliff earlier and I was now in heaven, but realizing that there was a slim chance that I would ever get to heaven for thinking the thoughts that were in my head at that time, there must have been a better explanation.
It just so happens that some magazine similar to Playboy was having a photo shoot at this time at this area. Yea, lucky us. As we watched the girls frolic and play, we knew that there must have been another way into this canyon, as these girls were two incredible to have hiked anywhere. Perhaps they drifted down on clouds from the sky above. Soft ski... Oh, sorry, back to the hike.
Are you kidding me with this thing?
We would have frozen in the water so that was out. The ladder we were about to climb was about 70 years old and made of tattered wood. It was bolted to a large boulder and was about 25 feet high. If it broke or came loose from the rock, we would surely die, no joke. It actually looked so old and rickety that it might have been one that God himself used in the construction of the actual Garden of Eden. The workers from the dam obviously got it second-hand. I did it anyway and lived to tell the story, so here it is. On the other side of this boulder is an amazing area. There is a limestone rock wall about 20 feet wide and there seems to be a water pressure build up behind it. The hot, seismic activity has somehow supersaturated the limestone and hot water is continually seeping out of the entire wall. There are hot, multicolored, boiling water pools all over the area in this little grotto. If you take a rock and strike the wall with it, boiling water will being to stream out of the small hole you made. In a few minutes, the hole fills in and you can repeat it. It might be the only place in the world that you can see this phenomenon, as I have never heard it described before.
|Entrance to Sauna Cave|
The hike back up the canyon was long, but uneventful. The hike out can be really difficult after relaxing in such a beautiful area. If you are hiking during the summer, bring lots of water. A few years ago, two older hikers died here of heat stroke, because they ran out of water. They were only about a mile from help. Don't do that. I made it back down the "Ladder of Death" and back up the "Rope Ladder" safely. I have been there many times and have even done the hike at night. With a full moon, on a warm summer night, it can't be beat! Consider camping down there also, you will have a blast! Please clean up after yourself and enjoy!
UPDATE - 2/17/11 -
I have just been to the canyon, although, due to my young kids, I didn't make it to the springs here are some cool pictures of the canyon. The road and parking area have been improved and it is marked with a sign, so it is very easy to find.
|Just starting out, a new bridge to walk under.|
|Can you find the wildlife?|
|This car has fallen from the top of the ravine and has been here since dam construction.|
|My wife and kids hiking the canyon.|
|Another old automobile. This could be a truck. It's halfway up the canyon wall.|
|Nice rock formations.|
|About a mile into the canyon.|
|This is on the way back out.|