Twenty some odd hot, dusty miles later I slowed the vehicle down, attempting to stir up as little dust as possible, before smiling and waving at a couple soaking in Willow Creek (Whitehorse) Hot Springs while the truck slowly crept past the pool into the BLM recreation site. It looked like they were here for a quick soak, as their sporty car appeared deprived of gear. This place is a long way from nowhere, especially for a quick trip. I know this personally to be true.
I perused past the BLM pit toilet and down the road to the only secluded primitive site of the four. Furthest away from the pool, toilet and other three sites, this mini-oasis was pinned between a small hill and the gurgling Willow Creek – which came complete with busy resident beavers. I felt a sense of familiarity as soon as my feet hit the soft, crunchy ground and the warm desert sun engulfed me. It felt incredible to be back.
After some banter while watching the beavers while devouring a snack – it was time to hit the pool, which my hot springing companion and I arrived to find empty and the sporty car gone. All that was left of them was the fading rooster tail of dust left by their car as they sped across the desert towards Fields, Oregon.
I don’t often soak during the heat of the day, but I (regretfully) made an exception. The soak was, of course, spectacular. All natural, deep, wide and nearly perfect temperature – it really doesn’t get much better than this in the high country. Regretful, because I remembered too late that soaking in a hot springs, in the sun and during the heat of the day should be brief at maximum. After that glorious soak a terrible headache consumed my mind.
After a few pills and hours spent laying down I was alive once again, and just in time for the dusk dinner show. From the pool, we gleefully watched a grey fox silhouetted against the dropping sun hunt for dinner. The small fox was driven and focused, bouncing on invisible trampolines from one bushel of sage to the next, attempting to flush out any would be jack rabbits. On the tenth or so bound, success! A little rabbit darted out of the sagebrush practically right next to the pool. I barley blinked before hearing the jack scream as the maw of the proud fox closed down on its neck. Definitely not a sound I had heard before. All of a sudden, the young fox realized that two humanoid creatures were only a few paces away before quickly and quietly vanishing into the sea of sage.
Part 3 Next Update…