California has hot springs. Who knew?!
My favorite thing about instagram is that it is a tool for finding new places. I basically use the app to share my photos and stories of travel and to find others doing the same. So, when I came across photos of the Travertine Hot Springs I was intrigued. To be honest, I didn't believe it at first. I kept checking and double checking the geotag thinking that the instagrammer had misplaced the photo. But, after a quick google search, I found out that it was not a mistake. California had hot springs, and I needed to see them!
Here is a little bit from my personal journal of the day I went searching for the Travertine Hot Springs:
"The air is cold. Colder than cold. It is 19 degrees and snowing outside. The weather report said the high today would be 50 with sun all day. This is the entire reason why I chose this weekend for this adventure. Does accuweather have a complaint box because I would like to make a submission? I am not dressed warm enough for these freezing temperatures and neither is my husband, Nick. But, I didn't come all this way to not find the hot springs. Plus, this adventure was my idea. I can't let him know that I am miserably cold. I have to make it seem like this is the greatest thing we have ever done together. A girl's gotta keep her pride. Am I right? Big smile on my face. Powering through. Check and check!
The road to the hot springs is dirt, nothing breathtaking about it. Frankly, it lacks a lot of wanderlust vibes which isn't a great sign that these hot springs will be anything to write home about. The car is parked, but my body refuses to move. It's cold out there and my entire being knows it. I brace myself for the winter chill and cling to my warm cup of motel coffee as if it will save my fingers from the winter frostbite to come. Ok. I am being a little dramatic, but I am from southern Louisiana. I don't do extreme cold. And, anything below 60 is extreme cold to us Louisianaians.
I throw on my pink parka (more options below), hop out the car, and immediately start searching. No time to waste. It's freaking freezing. Following a dirt path, I come across a few small pools of warm, murky water, but where are the travertine springs I saw on instagram and google? Well, your guess is as good as mine. I continue to walk around and wander for a bit with no luck. It is too cold to explore around this strange, abandoned landscape so I decide to chalk it up as a loss and basically run back to the car like there is a Hemsworth brother in there.
Back at the motel, I still can't let go of the idea that somewhere out there, there are travertine hot springs. I immediately open google. How could I have this all so wrong? Turns out, we had taken the wrong turn up on the hill and missed the stop completely. And, here is the real kicker: we never thought to google it while we were there. We travel abroad quite a bit and are so used to not having cell reception that it never occurred to us to whip out our phones and use google maps. We just left the hill and drove all the way back to the motel without ever using our portable internet devices. I mean... winning much?!
We both can't stop laughing at ourselves at this point. Rookie travel mistake. Who does that? Well, us apparently. And, you know what else we do? Travel all the way back up the hill driving a few feet passed where we first stopped to right our wrong. Now we have to locate those travertine hot springs if its the last thing we do. You know. Pride and all.
This time around I jump out of the car with purpose. I am on a mission. Just a short walk down a dirt path, I stumble upon what I had been searching for. The hot pools. And, man oh man. They are some stunners.
It is still quite cold outside and while the water is warm, I wouldn't say it is hot. At least, not hot enough for me to take my clothes off. And, strangely enough, there is not an electric dial allowing me to kick on the bubbles, so getting in isn't in the cards for me on this trip.
But, seeing the landscape, the view from the pools, and the warm water boiling out of the ground still lands this experience in the 'completely worth it category.' I will definitely be coming back to explore more here in the spring. Who knew? California has hot springs, and I saw them."