Summer Lake Hot Springs

Parting with Honey Badger was such sweet sorrow, but we had places to see and things to do. We will meet again.

After working in the morning, I left Bend and made the two-hour drive to Paisley and Summer Lake Hot Springs. I generally use free campsites, but from time to time I’ll make an exception for a special occasion. In this case, it was to see my friend Patti from Quartzsite, who’s working here this summer. Plus, while $25 a night for a campground is pretty reasonable, throw in nearly unlimited use of the hot springs and it’s a downright bargain.

I didn’t take many pictures because I spent most of my time away from camp soaking, without my phone. Inside the main building is a big pool, kept at around 98º. The deep end is only five feet deep, and it’s meant more for soaking than swimming. This works great for me because I sink in water. I literally can’t float. But I don’t have to, and I can immerse myself up to my head without turning myself into a pretzel.

They also have these more traditional rock pools outside the building, slightly warmer at 102º. They’re small but cozy. Soaking as the sun goes down, or later, you get an amazing view of a dark sky, where you can see “billions and billions” of stars, as Carl Sagan would say.

Back at camp, I unhooked the trailer and parked my van so I could string up the shade cloth between them like I’d done in Pahrump. It was hot, in the 90s during the day. But as the cliche goes, it was a dry heat, and more tolerable than east coast humidity. Lister decided that inside the trailer was his favorite spot since the floor was cooler than the ground.

I was there Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning, so I was still working. It wasn’t so bad. When my Friday morning meeting was canceled, I went for a soak instead, then got to work. Throughout the day I’d take regular soak breaks, then go back to work afterward. The only time I got out of my swimsuit was to go out to dinner with Patti on Friday night at the local saloon. With the low humidity I dried off naturally, and it felt good, even in the midday heat.

Behind the place, there’s a playa. I’d never seen one before. There’s a path down to it, so I took a walk and checked it out. It’s very… desert. Not much to see once you get there. I’m not sure what else I was expecting. It’s not like I’ve never seen a desert before.

The view on the way back was much more interesting.

Saturday morning I took one last soak and slowly packed up. I said goodbye to Patti and hit the road. With plans in Colorado, it was time for me to put some miles behind me over the weekend when I wasn’t working.

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