Next on Part II of January Adventures, join Nicole, Amber, Jason, Ryan, Tanya, and Amy as they traverse the wilds of the Nevada desert searching for the ever-elusive natural hot springs...in the dark! Will they find success, or will they spend an eternity wandering off trails, climbing solid rock walls, and discovering the innate ability of sand to enter their seemingly well-made sneakers?
That's right, folks. Rocks and sand in shoes. Never a good idea. And there for a little while, we wondered if this hike was a good idea. None of us had ever been to these hot springs just south of the Hoover Dam, and we didn't get started on the trail until 8:30pm. But no one can ever call us wimps, because we did it and lived to tell the tale! Granted, we didn't get back to the car until almost 2am, but that's beside the point... Look at us in this "before" photo. We look so hopeful and innocent. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into...
After hiking for about 45 minutes, we came to a large body of water (which was not the hot springs...or Lake Mead, for that matter) and decided we'd better find the correct trail. So Amber and Ryan promptly started to climb over a mountain. What choice had we but to follow? After careening down the other side of the mountain over the piles of loose gravel, we found some people sleeping in tents who kindly gave us the correct directions, and finally (after getting lost yet again) we came to the hot springs. Boy, that was a pleasant sight! And soak! They were really cool (I mean, hot...) - right in the middle of a narrow wash. We lit some candles and relaxed for a bit.
When it was time to head out, we climbed over some rocks and followed the trail back to our car...kind of. We lost the trail a few times and were just seeming to be on the right path, when suddenly a huge wall of rock loomed before us. Using our newly-regenerated muscles, we scrambled up and started moving along again, when what should appear? An even larger, more-impenetrable wall of rock. Ryan was the only one to attempt this obstacle - the rest of our group had to go back and find another way. What was the other way, you might ask? To climb up a different wall of rock, of course. Needless to say, by now we realized that there was no possible way that this was the actual trail. At that point we just gave up altogether and wandered in what we knew was the right direction. Thank you, o North Star!
Perhaps the most hilarious moment in this escapade came when we finally reached the highway and our car was nowhere to be seen. I can just imagine it in my head like a movie: we reach the highway and six heads look up the hill to the right, then back down the hill to the left, then at each other with perplexed expressions. "Which way is it," we're all wondering. Amber courageously volunteered to jog down the hill to the closest mile marker, and I can only imagine what the passing cars were thinking at the mysterious appearance of this random Navajo girl jogging down the highway at 1:30 in the morning. Much to our joy, we weren't far from our car - just another 100 yards down the hill.
Even with all of my (slight) exaggerations, the hike was definitely a blast! This adventure was a great way to open 2009, but hopefully it's not a portent for things to come or I'm going to need some serious flashlights this year. And maybe a compass...
2 months ago