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October 25, 2005

Tecopa "Wild Spa"

Wild Spa Panorama

Karl and I visited the wild spa near Tecopa Hot Springs three times this past weekend; twice in the daytime, and once in the middle of the night. The wild spa is a concrete hot tub out in the desert. It probably used to be part of a residence, but now there is no trace of any home there except for the tub in the ground. It's about a half mile out of town. Next to the spa grows one, single, very healthy palm tree, the only one around for quite a distance, so it is also called the "one-palm spa."

When I read about Tecopa on-line there seems to be a general frustration about being unable to actually FIND the wild spa. In fact, while I was in "town" a hippie man in his hippie van with his topless hippie woman pulled out of a side road in front of me and (obviously frustrated) asked for directions to the one-palm spa. It's the easiest thing in the world to find, so here we go:

  • From the county baths in Tecopa Hot Springs go north-ish (right) on Tecopa Hot Springs Road (the only paved road)

  • Proceed past the private RV parks and out of "town"
  • The road will go slightly downhill and less than a mile from your starting point you'll see this sign:
  • Furnace Creek Road
  • At that sign go right on Furnace Creek Road, which is dirt, but in good shape
  • You'll soon see the one single palm tree in the desert less than half a mile ahead - that's your goal
  • Park a nice distance away from the palm tree, walk up and enjoy!

It's even easier on foot or by bicycle. Instead of going all the way out to Furnace Creek Road, take a right on Noonday Road. Where that road takes a righthand turn, you should ignore the turn and just proceed directly across the open desert. You'll see the single palm tree not far ahead.

The water in the pool is hot, but not quite as hot as the tubs in town. Local volunteers drain and clean it out a couple of times a week. It's a very social place, with people coming and going and chatting. When we were there it was mostly men, but women (and kids) do come to visit. There were only a few of the insects call "Tecopa bombers" when we were there.

I found it most comfortable at night, when it was easier for me to stay in the warm water for much longer periods. The sky is, of course, incredibly clear and brilliant. The eastern horizon at night is always dominated by the glow of Las Vegas which is something like 100 or 150 miles distant. But even with that and the rising half moon, the Milky Way was easy to see. I think I spotted about a dozen shooting stars while we were there.

When we showed up for our night visit, two men were already there who had pulled their rental car (they had driven from Las Vegas) up right next to the spa and were playing CDs on their cheap car stereo. One of them was very intoxicated, but he was sober enough that when I settled into the tub he walked over near me and retrieved a handgun he had stowed in some brush and put it in the trunk of his car. That certainly made it look like it could be an exciting night! The other less drunk man was quite pleasant, but the problem guy was just obnoxious. When he wasn't in the pool spouting insane self-aggrandizing stories about his fabulous life amidst the famous, wealthy and powerful, he was over at the car with the door open, the dome light on, and the warning chime ringing away as he dug around inside the car for SOMEthing. We could never figure out what he was digging for, but he was probably basically just dealing with some drug-induced impulses. The two told us they had been hunting doves and quail earlier in the day. I was hoping we could outlast them, but I don't think they intended to leave the spa until dawn.

It made for a memorable evening, and I did enjoy it a lot. But I'm sure I could enjoy it about 10 times as much with more civil spa-mates.

Wild Spa (1)Wild Spa (2)Wild Spa (3)Wild Spa (4)Wild Spa (5)

Filed under Naturism-Nudism,Photography | permalink | October 25, 2005 at 09:36 AM

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