My trip to the hot springs near Apple Valley, CA. was amazing! We first drove for a few hours, from Palomar College in San Marcos, CA. It was an ESO (environmental) club trip. My professor and friend were there as well as some other people from the club. The dirt roads leading to the Bowen Ranch, which was the area we went hiking in, were so much fun! the twists and turns and bumps and hills…I felt like we were on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. We get to the ranch and went on a hike for a mile and a half, mind you this is no simple task. Initially the trails are easy and it just feels like your in the desert, sand everywhere, desert looking plants, and rocks. We keep climbing and are now on top of a mountain, if you slip, it’s a long way down. We finally get to see the river from atop the mountain, which at this time of year in early spring, the water is freshly melted snow, its beautiful, we finally see the hot springs also but its still a ways away it seems. There are really steep hills we had to go down, but we make it to the bottom. Now we see that the hot springs are across the river of literally freezing cold water! So my professor jumps in first, and some other people including my friend Tyler. Just girls left, I stick my foot in the water and realize how cold it actually is and think to myself, there’s no way i can get used to it and if I just stand here I’m never going to jump in, so being the first girl to jump in, I start swimming as fast as I can and have a hard time breathing so I grab hold of the rope that’s connected to both sides of the banks. I pull myself as hard and fast as I can, finally get to the hot springs and step into the first little pool just deep enough for your feet, it’s really hot! The professor and the others told me to jump in the other pool where its feels more like a jaccuzzi and can fit some people but is still only two feet deep. My professor told me that the first pool of water is where people put their soup cans in to heat them up…it’s no wonder, it was boiling hot! I’d warm my soup up in there too if I had brought some. there were two more pools that I hadn’t been in yet so decided to explore this side of the mountain, as I’m climbing up the slippery rocks I came across this pool that was six feet deep but still had rocks so that you could sit somewhere, but the water was so clear and blue you can see the bottom of the pool. It was so beautiful and calming, after sitting in there for a while i went to the other one which wasnt as deep, but it had a better view of the river. There were also some interesting people there… the professor warned us of the nudists that came there and it was now 2:00 I had told my friend Tyler jokingly, “well we didn’t get the pleasure of seeing any nudists today,” 3:00 a man walks across the river, then another, then another, all wearing their backpacks….and only their backpacks. It was hard for me to have conversations while having naked men five feet away from me, but they went in the pools or sat on a high rock, and I went on with my business. So it got to 4:00 and I noticed it wasnt as warm out then it was earlier, I decided I’d cross now before it got any colder…the current was helping me on the way back so I think it was easier goin back then it was first crossing. The hike back was torture, all the hills we went down coming over, we now had to go up going back. I walked as fast as I could so I could get to the warm car…I didn’t bring extra clothes and was wet and cold the whole way back home. But all in all the trip was unforgettable…I was open-minded before this trip but was even more so afterward. I also learned that we as people really need to get away from it all once in a while. Also, the trash…I was so dissappointed to see that this wonderful place had beer bottles and old clothes just thrown on the ground, it really is important that we keep the earth clean…things to remember for next time…extra clothes, maybe a waterproof backpack, and definitely some cans of soup.
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