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April 13, 2007

Saline Valley w/ Photos

First, feel free to check out this 14.2 Mb video I took of the Palm Springs area of the warm springs in Saline Valley. This is the area where we camped, and you may be amazed at my considerable videography skills in finding the precise moment to do this pan which includes two tubs while no people are in view anywhere.

Here are some panoramas from a few different points of view around Saline Valley:

Saline Valley From Near Upper Springs
Saline Valley From McElvoy Canyon (2)
Saline Valley From McElvoy Canyon (1)
Saline Valley From Hunter's Canyon
Saline Valley Campsite

And a sampling of other photos:

Mouse (6506)Wizard Pool With Moon (6553)Scott & Boswell (6561)Pink Hat In Wizard Pool (6551)Dario & Loren (6614)

The complete set of photos can be seen here.

I carpooled to Saline Valley with Chip in his new Toyota Tundra with V8 engine and TRD stuff. I'll tell you, there's no better way to get to Saline Valley than in a new Toyota Tundra with V8 engine and TRD stuff and a young (relatively speaking) driver. Seven hours from DHS to campsite, and only six hours to return (who needs to eat?). Fifty MPH on Saline Valley Road itself! With appropriate drops in speed for blind curves and crests. Although the NPS warned and warned about snow on the road and the requirement to carry chains, we found the road to be dry, solid and in fine shape the whole way.

When we arrived at the springs there was still considerable wind blowing from the storms that had passed through earlier in the week. This caused some damage to my tent, so now I know it was not good enough for Burning Man, either.

Those who drove Jeeps began to show up about sunset and later. After dark it's easy to spot vehicles coming far across the valley. Then when they turned on the 7 or 8 mile side road to the springs ("Steel Pass" road?) I knew I had time to fix and eat dinner, pay a visit to the pit toilet, and then walk the three-quarters of a mile down to the lower springs in my flip-flops, just to welcome them as they drove in.

On subsequent days I went along on Jeep drives to Hunter's Canyon and Fern Canyon (which is the same as McElvoy Canyon). I thought Hunter's was pretty disappointing, because the springs there were totally inaccessible behind a few hundred feet of thick brush...and there were chiggers. Or, at least I had chigger bites appear the next morning, and Hunter's Canyon was the only place we went where they might have lived. I just don't know why I was the only one to get them.

Fern Canyon, OTOH, had no chiggers and was a wonderful place to visit. Water pours out of the rock cliffs and falls to the stream that parallels that trail. It was cool, wet and green!

On Friday, the Jeep guys drove north out of camp to explore Steel Pass and see the Eureka Dunes. I didn't go along, but they all seemed to have a good time anyway.

The highlight of my days in Saline Valley came on Friday evening when I went down to the Crystal Pool to see if an alleged musical performance would actually take place. There were several men (no women) in the pool. I undressed (by kicking off my sandals) and got in. The only musical performance going on was someone playing a mandolin, and it was miserably, painfully obvious that he was learning. He would play a chord (slightly off-key) while singing (off-key in another direction). When it came time to change chords he had to pause to look at his fingering. Then the music would continue. He was sitting on a low, wooden bench that goes around the campfire next to the tub of hot spring water. A lot of British visitors were seated alongside him. They eventually excused themselves with excessive politeness.

I couldn't take it too much longer, so I got out of the pool and began to head back up my campsite. Coming down the road was a young guy who I recognized from up near our campsite. He was under 30, had long, blondish hair and beard, nice body, nice voice (at least he did when chatting in the Wizard Pool in the morning) who had HIKED into Saline Valley once (took him five days two years ago), and he was carrying a guitar and a banjo. I did a 180 and followed him back to the Crystal Pool campfire, where the mandolin player was not going to give up easily. He gave us another couple of painful selections before he laid down his instrument.

Moments later, the young, blonde guy began to sing, accompanying himself on the guitar...and it was BEAUTIFUL! Some kind of folksy music, completely on-key. And there I was naked in the middle of miles of desert, nothing overhead but some swaying palm trees and the Milky Way, listening to beautiful music sung by a California stereotype with a bunch of other Californians around, in and out of the water, and I thought this moment alone could justify my efforts in moving to California. Fortunately, there have been lots of other similar moments, but this one was probably the best. I tried to imagine how a similar scene could have gone down in Massachusetts. First, it's almost NEVER warm enough to hang out naked after dark there. The hot spring would have to be somebody's hot tub. There wouldn't be any palm trees. Rather than being surrounded by a clean desert, we'd probably hear motor vehicle traffic in the distance, and we'd have to keep an eye out for skunks and raccoons sneaking up. And, finally, the chances of finding a California boy like this one in New England are slim.

Great time, and I left Saline Valley as I have the previous times, planning to go back soon.

Filed under Naturism-Nudism,Photography | permalink | April 13, 2007 at 03:43 PM

Comments

Hi,

Just returned from Saline Valley on Mem Weekeend with my boyfriend, and saw yer pics today. Nice! Would like to meet other SoCal nudists.

Thanks.

Keven

Posted by: Keven at May 29, 2008 12:30:03 PM

"Toyota Racing Design? Development?" [WARNING: excessive graphics & flash]

Posted by: Ron's Log at Apr 13, 2007 9:33:24 PM

What is "TRD stuff"?

Posted by: b at Apr 13, 2007 4:36:54 PM

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