Sunday, July 8, 2007

Water in the Desert

In the materialistic world of the Unified States of unAwareness, we operate under a supply and demand credo. Sometimes just the rarity of something will make you find its beauty even more amazing (think diamonds in theory). Most people assume Arizona is one large sandbox filled with a lot of cactus, rocks and weird people who flock to large sandboxes. And when they visit Phoenix, they feel that their beliefs are confirmed. But what they don't realize, is that in order for life to occur in the sandbox, water must exist. And if you find where the water exists, it will most likely be in the form of an oasis... think incredibly beautiful. I have spent three years looking for and exploring these places where the water bubbles out of the ground from some unknown spring that originates in a snow capped mountain hundreds of miles north in a place called Colorado. Saturday was one of those days.

About 1.5 hrs north of Phoenix is the Verde River. This river gushes 20,000 gallons a minute of crystal clear water through an area of vertical drops full of travertine. This amounts to beautiful turquoise waterfalls of a balmy 75 degrees. I have been to several waterfalls in the area and am always amazed at how deserted this area is in spite of its beauty and closeness to Phoenix. In comparison to Sedona, it is 10x more beautiful and of an equal distance to Phoenix, yet Sedona has become a huge tourist trap with entirely too many people. I enjoy hiking in Sedona, but a traffic jam in the middle of nowhere is never cool. I had read online that there used to be a old hot springs resort along the Verde River which was long ago abandoned but the hot springs and pools still exist. I talked some friends into attempting to find this for ourselves. It involved an 18 mile drive along a dirt/rock road in questionable condition, a short but hot hike with three river crossing and some rock scrambling, but we found the old hot springs and it didn't disappoint. They are closely taken care of by locals who maintain the pools and protect their ability to bathe nude and commune with nature. The old springs house is painted with murals and poems all over which was a fascinating experience to explore. One pool was exceptionally hot and the other was more warm. We met some interesting characters there and cooled off in the river afterward. Picture story below.

Hike to the Verde Hot Springs

Verde Hot Springs, June 2007

Hot pool Inside of Painted Room

My Favorite Words of Wisdom on the Wall

Warm Deep Pool Outside

The day didn't actually end there. We also explored the richer area known as Fossil Creek which is abundant with waterfalls and deep crystal pools of water. We found a rope swing to play on, took a mile trail run through the rain to a large unnamed waterfall, and then found a cave behind the waterfall to play in. On a sadder note, we also saw a forest fire start across the valley and in the five minute we watched it, it burned an amazing amount of land. I am sure it was a natural fire started by lightening, but I found how quickly it burned to be very scary. Hopefully the large rain storm that followed tempered its power. Overall an awesome adventure day.

*Last 2 pics courtesy of Sarah & her waterproof digital.


Susana said...

Love the blog, Hannah! I just added a link to your blog from mine.

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