A la Joni Mitchell, "They paved paradise to put up a parking lot." But they didn't stop there. No, they had to build an eyebrow raising 240 million dollar four lane bridge... and connect it to a new freeway. Now, endless droves of Meg-aaahhh-po-less seniors and senior-itas from Sun City, Phoenicia, can hop a Greyhound and spend days upon daze inserting Social Security nickels into a one-armed bandit in good ole Lost Wages, Nevada. It would be sad if it wasn't so pitiful; that if you build a gaudy, "fixed" Wishing Well, and the poorest among us will come, proceed to throw their last spare change and dollar bills into it and call it "fun." God help us.
If there ever were any real trees within a hundred miles of this God -forsaken summer hellhole called Vegas... you know, the kind you can actually sit under and get a shred of shade when it's 110 degrees outside... the Mafia would have ripped them out of the ground "an put 'em in a Tree Museum." Of course, as Joni sings, "then charge a dollar and a half just to see 'em."
Whose idea was it to transplant all those useless palm trees... the kind that are taller than a cell tower and provide about as much shade? Oh, that's right... the Mafia wants you inside... in air conditioned darkness, sipping "free" cocktails served by scantily clad women with Grand Canyon Cleavage... so you can throw your hard earned money into their bottomless "wishing wells." Ha!
Some will argue that this area never was "Paradise" in the first place... that there were no trees beyond thorny limbed, ebony skinned Mesquites. By definition, "How does one fuck up hell?" Well I'll tell you how. "One" starts by building a megapolis like Las Vegas in the driest and hottest place on earth. Then one adds an "Employment Machine,"one that promises a really good chance to win a fortune of a lifetime, instead of working for it like all those stupid co-workers of yours. The "Machine" grows like "The Blob," feeding on all those people with dollar signs in their eyes. Developers lick their chops. Now they get to over-build massive subdivisions for all the "servants," like Yellow Taxi drivers who barely speak english. "No, noooo! I said Book Store, not Hooker Whore!"
The Blob then lures huge male oriented conventions with promises like, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." The pamphlet/commercial shows girls in various stages of undress. Next thing you know daddy has one too many drinks (the standard excuse) and wakes up with double extra large pair of panties on his head... wondering what that awful smell is all about.
For family types The Blob advertises fancy buffet style restaurants, free babysitting service, and/or adjoining suites for the kiddos... you know, so Mom and Dad can have a little "alone time." Subliminal message to Dad: "I'm going to get laid!" Subliminal message to Mom: "I don't have to cook!"
The "Blob" grows because sex sells... and because one out of every one hundred to one thousand Bozos "break even," and one out of every million actually hit a Jackpot of some sort. The IRS is first in line and takes sixty percent, "Well shit. Don't cry Honey, we can win that back." Bozo.
And here's the part that I really don't get. It's true for Vegas, Phoenix, and other megapolis cit-aahs in So Cal. What is their long term plan to water people, plants, lawns, fountains, and golf courses? Why are they encouraging growth when, starting from Colorado, lake levels in Blue Mesa, Morrow, Crystal, Powell and Mead, are collectively decades from the ever-lessening possibility of being refilled? And it's not just about "water," it's about "power." First, Developers with deep pockets and influence. Second, Electricity... demands that exceed water "production." What is the real cost of air conditioning misplaced megapolis's... of over-building beyond "supply?" Ask the Anasazi.
Do you know what happens to cities like Tucson when the aquifer over which they are built is being depleted faster than it can recharge? They settle... inch by inch. Suddenly, there's a giant sinkhole coming to a Subdivision near you! It shouldn't come as a surprise to those of us who live out west when someday soon, "water" will become the new "gold." Every single drop of water west of the Continental Divide has been fought over, bought up, and allocated far beyond its existence, starting with the biggest money players (So Cal and Nevada). There are no more "water rights." There is no more long term water beyond precipitation and springs. But who cares? The Money Players in Vegas are buying up ranches to the north... one by one... in order to get their hands on the water under them. Live for today! Build baby Build! Imagine, Attorneys turning the Cattle Ranch heritage of the old west into Water Farms. Roll over in your Grave, John Wayne, your great great great grand children will be left high and dry.
Now, how about a little Hike 'n Soak in a narrow slot canyon, way down by the Colorado River? Grab a cup, cause this is heavy with photos due to a rare high speed internet connection at the Laughlin library. Sorry, when you "got it," use it :)
We hiked White Rock Wash to the Colorado River once before back in 2002... on our second RV sojourn/treadmill "sabbatical." We stayed at a fancy smancy high-dollar RV Resort that bordered the well trailed, volcanic mountain open space on the upper end of Boulder City... so "Upper End," that no RV's older than ten years were allowed (lift nose here). Wow, I guess we wouldn't qualify nowadays, what with Goldie about to celebrate her 20th birthday. Screw 'em.
It was a cool, cloudy, and rainy day. A good day for soaking in a secluded, little known Hot Springs would feel good. Right. But a lot of things can change in eleven years... some for the better, like Goldie, some for the worse, a la Joni Mitchell and her "Paradise." We were shocked. Route 93 is now a freeway. And there is nothing short of an Eighth Wonder of the World four lane work of art bridge now spanning the gorge above Hoover dam. Damn! It's so high... so long, did I say, "so high?" Are you crazy? You can't span that canyon with a bridge! But 240 million dollars later, there it sits. Beautiful. I'll get to the photos and acrophobia in a later post... along with parting shots from Valley of Fire. Yes, there's more Valley of Fire.
In spite of it's expense, I like The Bridge from an "Art" standpoint, but hate that it was needed to resupply Vegas with new money (see above rant). More people just fuck things up for those who come after them. "Things" get paved and improved and widened in the name of faster, faster, faster... just so we can squeeze more flesh through a revolving door, and pick pockets of the dizzy.
And now, I find our semi-private hot springs has a huge paved parking lot and signs at the trail head. Another one bites the dust. Oh well, If you can't stop the disease, get "vaccinated" and join the crowd. "Condoms, get your condoms right here... Shingles shots, get your shingles shots right here... two for one, today only!" Repeat with me, "Gawd."
But, like Mailman Steve, "neither snow nor rain nor darkness nor wetness of day..."
Onward. Three point two five miles, one way... through a big slot canyon, to the river... left, and up a smaller slot canyon. Gee, I wonder if there will there be a Spa there now?
Formal signs and cairns are few. Just follow the wash down, down, down. I would not be telling you this if it was still a secret, but it's not. There's a parking lot, with signs.
Finally, at the Colorado River, it's drizzling/sprinkling rain... clouds hang low.
It took us a while to find our way into the right slot canyon. Trails go off in all directions from the river, now that they've opened the hot springs to the whole world. Just go left at the river a quarter mile and follow the biggest cairns. Look for long faded blue paint dots where you would never think to look. If you find water and it is luke warm... follow it upstream. The "trail" is a little sketchy in places, but not as bad as it looks.
Once in the slot canyon there is a twenty foot ladder to climb. Put cameras away here because you get wet ascending the ladder. The water is warmer tho.
Now about this sign... uh, well, ignore it.
The first pool is the biggest and least warm (102 degrees). You may, as we did, have to step over an unabashed naked man or two in order to continue on to more private and hotter pools upstream. Pay them no mind lest they engage you in conversation. There was just nowhere for my eyes to safely land when talking to the naked man... all stretched out in a shallow pool of clear water. So I just stared at a freckle on his head... and the canyon wall behind him... as if blind... in order to avoid the penis area. That's what I did. I don't know what Bobbie did.
The pools are formed by damming 30 gallons per minute flow with sandbags. This is the second pool... empty of naked men, thank God.
We played it safe and went to the last pool. Unfortunately it was the hottest, I'm guessing 106-ish. Bobbie don't need no stinking bikini... and strips to her undies. Red, today, good for the camera.
Disclaimer: If you are under the age of eighteen, or, if you find senior citizen nudity offensive, now would be a good time to quit reading.
Ha! caught you!
What you can't see is that I have my socks on. My feet couldn't take the gravel. Bring flip flops!
Only when I was sure that the talkative Penis Man was going to stay put in the lower pool and leave us the hell alone, was I comfortable in removing my shorts. A gentle mist of rain found it's way through our slotted skylight. So light were the drops that they paused on the slightest updraft. I imagined that it would be a rare day to have this natural hot spring all to ourselves again, now that they've put up a sign and paved parking lot.
The dour weather must have discouraged hikers and boaters on this day. Thinking I might not return, I tried to soak it all in... the hot mineral water, the narrow slot canyon, the red rock, the solitude, sky, rain, God... for lack of someone else to thank. Deep breath... slow exhale. Feel the healing power of Nature and hot water. Feel the Source Field of Energy, the unseen charged Matrix of Matter that connects everything at the most basic, minute, Quantum level of light and frequency... water, soil, rock, plant, animal, and human. Feel the "vibe."
On the way out we were forced to step over Talking Penis Man again. He engaged us saying that if we wanted to, we could go back by staying in this slot canyon. I made the mistake of asking how to do that, and thus was forced for ten full minutes to stare at a freckle on his bald head in order to not glimpse his Man-Parts. I don't know who was more uncomfortable, me or Bobbie.