United States
Whitmore Hot Springs

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    • Day 44

      Mammoth Lakes

      September 20, 2023 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

      Der Weg nach Mammoth Lakes war wirklich spektakulär- als würde man bei Nintendo’s “Super Mario World” verschiedene Levels durchfahren, änderte sich auf unser Fahrt die Landschaft und Natur von Berglandschaften über Waldgebiete, riesige Weideflächen mit Kühen über einen Kalksee der an eine Mondlandschaft erinnerte bis hin zur Steppe. Außer Landschaft war allerdings so gut wie nichts zu sehen. Keine Ortschaften, Häuser oder sonstige Zivilisation.

      Angekommen an der Hot Creek Geological Site dann auf einmal ein blubbernder Fluss und dampfende heiße Quellen in verschiedensten Farben. Ein bisschen als wären wir auf einem anderen Planeten.

      Zum Abschluss fuhren wir dann noch ein paar Schotterstraßen weiter zu unserem Camp für die Nacht. Fast allein in dieser überwältigenden Landschaft zwischen den Sierra Mountains packten wir kurzer Hand die Badehose sein und spazierten zu den heißen Quellen. Während die Landschaft mit den letzten Sonnenstrahlen eines wunderschönen Sonnenuntergangs langsam abkühlte, hatten wir es sehr gemütlich in dem 45 Grad warmen Quellwasser.

      Nachts wurde es so kalt , dass das Auto zugefroren war und wir morgens gleich nochmal die über Nacht gefrorenen Badesachen schnappten und die heißen Quellen gleich nochmal ausnutzen konnten.
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    • Day 68–69

      Sheperd Hot Springs, Bishop (California)

      November 8, 2023 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 1 °C

      Invigorated by a delicious breakfast at Erik Schat's Bakkery and freshly showered at Hostel California, we were ready to take the rest day to the next level. We knew the area around Bishop had some thermal activity. Two years ago we had been to Kerough Hot Springs, a leisure pool fed by hot water from a hot spring. But we knew there must be little hot springs somewhere nearby where you don't have to pay anything and can stay overnight right in your van. We had seen these photos! And that's what we wanted to do.

      Fortunately, the salesman at an equipment store in Bishop gave us an insider tip. He told us about a place towards Mammoth Lake, about 40 minutes north of town. There we would find several small pools that were on public land and fitted our description very well.

      Shortly after the last of the daylight disappeared, we reached Sheperd Hot Springs. Of course, we had hoped to be alone, but we were also realistic. After all, these pools are free and you can park your van right next to them. We knew someone would be there and weren't surprised when we saw three cars in the small parking lot on the gravel road.

      On the drive from Bishop to the hot springs, we had covered a few meters in altitude and at one point the thermometer in the car showed temperatures below freezing. It was going to be a cold night.

      We parked the cars, checked out the pool, said hello to everyone and went back to the vehicles to prepare dinner. It was really cold, even though we were wearing as much as we could. The mood was mixed when it came to undressing and getting into the little tub outside. But we knew we were here now, and we'd been dreaming about it for a while, so there was no turning back.

      After dinner, we packed up our cameras and some beer and headed to the pool. Everyone had retired to their vans. Manu and I set up the cameras while the girls were already getting ready for the water. Being half naked at -6°C was uncomfortable, but once we were in the pool, all the doubts were forgotten. It was simply the best. The water was around 46°C, a temperature difference of more than 50°C! Above us we could see the Milky Way and the otherwise pitch black night sky. We had put our beers down next to the tub and were now sitting in this wonderfully hot water enjoying a Californian Indian Pale Ale.

      For the first few minutes, it seemed like a good idea to keep wearing our caps. We had the impression that we could stay in this water forever. But soon we had to take our caps off. Then we had to take our arms and shoulders out of the water to have a bit more skin surface to help regulate our body temperature. After 20 minutes, everyone started to stand up or sit on the edge of the pool for a few minutes, sweating in the freezing night to cool down a little. We did that for who knows how long.

      At some point a new car arrived and a man approached us hoping for a seat in the tub. There were 6 seats and only 4 were taken, so we were happy to have company. Another half hour later we were joined by a woman. The pool was now full and we chatted animatedly about life, the universe and everything.

      When we left the hot tub, we no longer needed to hurry to get dressed. We became one with the heat. Everyone got dressed slowly, said goodnight and went to bed. The sleeping bag was instantly warm.

      In the morning we woke up in a frozen car with frozen windows, frozen tomatoes, frozen olive oil, frozen everything. My camera's battery died the moment I switched it on to capture the beautiful morning light.

      We made coffee and went back to the hot spring. Same procedure as the night before, but this time we could see the breathtaking landscape around us. Not a single house far and wide. Just mountains, hills, sparse vegetation and a few small birds enjoying the hot water just like us a few meters from the pool. Simply wonderful.
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    • Day 30

      Sleep and dash + hotsprings

      October 31, 2023 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      Had to wake up early to leave the campsite we didn’t pay for before we got caught. Drove on a little to some hot springs and had a swim. Decided to stay for the day and have a reading day and a sunset hot spring!Read more

    • Day 20

      Day 20 - Mammoth Lakes

      September 30, 2021 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

      We have been staying in a hotel near Yosemite and the luxury of a pool and hot tub was embraced by us all this morning. It was a hot day and probably the last time the Canadian residents among us will swim outdoors, so we revelled in it. Becky and I had to go get COVID tested before our flight in 2 days time. It was a streamlined, drive-thru process that allowed us to go back and swim again before packing up and heading out. But due to rising numbers on the US, labs are flat out and we doubt these test results will come in time. So an expedited (and pricey) test in Vegas is going to have to happen.

      We explored the little town of Oakhurst, grabbing local sushi for lunch, perusing some stores and finding wicked deals on gently used quality outdoor clothing/gear! We are headed the direction of Death Valley tonight, and not being sure how far we wanted to go we asked the outdoor store guys. They were a wealth of knowledge and told us of some hot springs near Mammoth Lakes (a few hrs north of Death Valley). We were stoked: off the beaten path recommendations are our favourite. Off we drove, delighted and a little shocked when a bobcat sped across the road right in front of us, his pointy ears and bushy tail a rare sight indeed. Becky's defensive driving saved both us and the bobcat. Beautiful, speedy creature.

      Our three hour drive took us back into Yosemite valley and up the other side, through Tuolumne Meadows (stunning, high alpine meadows with yellow waving grass amidst stunted pines). We were above 9000 feet, but tomorrow will take us to below sea level in Death Valley.

      We arrived at our free campsite as the sun was setting and right next to a hot spring! The weather was cool and it took some encouragement (or fomo...) for Cilla to get into her bathers and join Becky, myself and a few other travellers in this tiny pool someone had created. Only about 7 feet across, the ingenious creation was a concrete and stone 'tub' set in a hollow 15 ft from a natural (and very hot, mud and algae-filled) puddle that was the hot spring. A pipe carried stinking hot water (literally - vague rotten eggs from the sulphur in the water!) into the pool. We met some locals, one of whom was a geologist and, always hungry for geeky info, we picked her brains about the formation of the area. Turns out we were in in a valley filled with calderas (large depressions made after a volcano collapses). Volcanic activity causes these hot springs all over the area and we were very much enjoying that fact! The irony of 'warming up' before sleeping on our last day of camping just as we 'cooled down' before sleeping on our first day of camping was not lost on us!

      Over two hours and many shooting stars later we decided to brave the cold and climbed out to dry off and get some sleep. Despite the gear and clothing we had brought with us, we struggled to stay warm. The temperature dropped to -3C and the summer sleeping bags we'd brought weren't holding up. Cilla (in the winter sleeping bag :)) eventually bailed to the car to defrost her frozen toes. Becky managed some sleep after wrapping her toes in all the clothes, while I barely slept a wink all night (thanks also to the polar bear snores!).

      Tomorrow is our last day! Hard to believe its been 21 days, feels like 210 and 2 at the same time.

      - Nomes & Becky
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    • Day 10

      Sierra Ridge Climb

      April 2, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

      Woke up, looked out the window at the gorgeous sunrise … took a photo… and back to sleep for an hour. Got up and moving and then went to wake Andrey. He made a big breakfast and coffee, and I did yoga. Then we headed up into the mountains for the next 7 hours. I had to take many, many breaks, and along the way found a strange looking “rock” which Andrey was concerned was radioactive. We finally reached a ridge and took a longer break before finding our way back down. We still had to cross a creek and walk quite sways to the van. Luckily I had learned to use a walking stick by then.
      Back at the van we packed up some firewood and heading out to find some water and visit hot springs 2hrs away. We made a quick pit stop in Bishop for some water, whiskey and kielbasa.
      Unfortunately, the hot springs were packed (and the roads were scary)…. We back tracked and found a spot on a side road. We had a nice fire, cooked up some potatoes, onions, peppers and sausage for a late supper and then some tea. It was snowing out as we tried to find a place to stay and it is dropping down to zero tonight. Brrrrr…
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    • Day 11

      Convict Lake and Sierra Mountain

      April 3, 2022 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

      It was a COLD night and a lazy morning. Some yogurt, berries and granola, and coffee over the fire. We headed out to Hot Creek geological site. Sulphur hot springs (boiling) that were baby blue and trout fishing all in one river. And I saw a rather large King snake!
      Off to Lake Convict and made it half way (into the mountain pass) to lake Mildred. Then to Pine Creek for another cold night…. But most incredible campsite. They just keep getting better!!
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Whitmore Hot Springs

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