August 20th, 2014
I make my way to Spener’s Hot Springs, not far at all from Austin, in the Big Smoky Valley. But when I drive up to the springs, what do I see but this contraption:
And I think, aha, these people are going to Burning Man. The contraption in question is an art car. This one is disassembled, of course, to be transported to the festival in the Black Rock Desert. I chat with its owners as I, too, have been to Burning Man. That was in 2006. You can learn more about Burning Man here.
The main spring at Spencer’s looks like this:
There are other springs nearby, here and there among the sagebrush, such as this one:
With a second, and much cooler pool nearby, full of goldfish:
I had a nice soak (several, in fact) and interesting conversation with the usual interesting collection of hot springs fans present, and a nice morning walk in the vicinity.
True to the spirit of the hot springs community, someone has made this maze:
…which leads to this offering:
But the best part is the tranquility of this place, and the view over Big Smoky Valley:
As I walked I took a few pictures of the local inhabitants…
…such as this jackrabbit that you can see on the lower left, if you look hard.
But it was soon time for me to go on to my next destination, up in the Toquima Range, in the Toiyabe National Forest, just a few miles distant:
As I said, this forest demands a new definition of the word “forest”.
The road behind me and the road in front:
But we soon meet the trees:
And I arrive at my destination:
Shooting practice appears to be a big sport in these parts.
I find a campsite:
It’s a small, primitive campground, only four or five campsites, probably frequented mainly by hunters. I like it here, it’s so calm and peaceful.
Now I head off to the Toquima Cave and its drawings, a fifteen-minute walk away along an easy trail. As the trail progresses I like this forest more and more:
We now approach the cave…
… up these few steps…
…we can’t go in…
…but I can take pictures:
From the information signs posted we learn that these drawings were intended to summon the spirits to bring good luck for the hunt and that no other message was intended.
Today this cave is a sacred site for the contemporary Shoshone people. You may want to zoom in to get a better view of these pictograms. Or look them up on Wikipedia here.
On the way back to the campground I take an interest in the trees, both young…
The old are like sculptures.
Back at the campground the evening is beautiful:
As I said, I like it here. I have the whole place to myself.