The Wolf in the Ranch

Bowen Ranch.

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It’s this neat little camping ground, privately owned by the Deep Creek hot springs in Apple Valley. We cruised up there (meaning myself and 4 other loud boys) yesterday around 11 am. I was amazed at how beautiful the scenery was. The beryl sky was bursting with vivacity and stretched-out clouds. The dirt road leading up to the campsites was slightly perilous; our car nearly tipped over once!

We reached the campsites, finally, and decided to hike 2 miles down to the hot springs. The walk itself was lovely. The air felt clean and inviting. About an hour of traveling downwards through the narrow trails, we began to reach the creek where the hot springs also resided. In order to get to the springs, we need to hop rocks across the bustling river flow. We each climbed down the face of a small, rocky mountain to get to the stone pathway. I had to face my fear of heights- no easy feat! We scaled down, nice and easy, and were able to hop across the wet rocks.

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The springs were divine, healing, magical, absolutely rejuvenating. I could feel all of my muscles relax as I floated among the minerals. The area was astir with good people, laughter, and Mother Nature herself. We spent a good two hours unwinding in The Womb- a name given to one of the hot pools. It was very much shaped as a womb and was 8.5 feet deep! The hottest of the pools was 106 degrees.

The sun began to exhale behind the mountain ridge. We decided it was time to start walking back to the campgrounds, Nightfall had wrapped himself around the creek and the only way back to the site with minimal light was through the icy river. (I literally mean icy, as a small chunk of ice was floating downstream)

I can honestly say I had never felt pain like that in my near 23 years of life.  The water was so cold, I couldn’t breathe. Not only that, but I had to balance on the rocks underwater, guided only by the beam of a small headlamp from our friend across the river way. I had slipped in the beginning, cutting my foot open on a sharp stone. I wanted to cry! My boyfriend followed closely behind me, huffing and groaning with the same misery.

Finally, we reached the other side of the river. I collapsed onto the cool sand, grasping at my legs. It felt as though a hundred knives were stabbing me all at once. I was numb. Slowly, the feeling began to come back and I felt the throbbing from the cut on my foot.

The hike back up the 2 mile trail was gruesome. We had been reclining in hot, mineral water just 30 minutes before and now our legs worked overtime trying to get us over the steep ridge line. Tired and hungry, we arrived to the campsite and set up our tents. I crawled into my sleeping bag, awaiting spaghetti to be made over the burner that we brought. Alas, dinner never came, as I was too exhausted to wake up for it.

Nighttime hit 34 degrees. I shared the tent with 3 other guys. I could feel them all shivering through the night. Even with my 8 layers of warm clothing, I was still pretty cold. Allie slept by my side, cold as well.

7 am. I stepped outside of the tent to use nature’s restroom. The sky was a breathtaking hue of magenta and orange. I bundled up and proceeded to read my book until the others woke up.

California_High_Desert_Sunrise

We had a fairly easygoing start to the day. I brewed coffee with my carafe and condensed milk. Foxes trotted by in the distance, chirping at one another happily. I had a lot of time to think about my life- maybe too much time. The more I think about my current life conditions, the more I want to be impulsive…

Anyways, during the hour, we packed up our tent and belongings back into the car and head out one last time for the hot springs. The hike down was more bearable this time since we all knew what to expect. The pools were quite crowded with people, most of them nudists. It was wonderful, though. We met some pretty great people, including this older, naked, hippie guy with a white beard. He was from Florida originally and is a frequent hot springs visitor. There were plenty of tourists and women with dreadlocks.

My neighbor, W, is a practicing Shaman. He’s a pretty rad, wise, healing, hippie man who has spent a plethora of time in the Amazon, conducting Ayahuasca ceremonies and such. Well anyways, here is where my trip summary gets really interesting…

As we were coming back to the campsite, we decided to take a rather risky way back across the river. This was real, true stone hopping. I was a bit nervous since the rapids were….well, rapid. As I was hopping along, I slipped. And when I slipped, a black wolf defended my body from the river current. I was able to lift my body back onto the rocks. If you’re wondering where this black wolf came from, it was Micah.

Now, that’s not the interesting part, although it was pretty fucking amazing. W, who had taken a sufficient amount of mushrooms, was talking to the guys behind me as I was climbing the last of the rocks. He was telling them that he saw a speeding black wolf, and it disappeared just inches away from him…

I shit you not. Pardon my French. I didn’t even bring it up to him. Partially because he was high, but mostly because I didn’t see the point of telling him about Micah. No one knows anyways.

I walked back with a wolf at my side. He isn’t very affectionate, but he’s loyal. Funny how that worked out…seeing as though he entered my mental vicinity as someone to be feared…

All around, I’m reporting a successful hot springs camping trip. It was just enough time to enjoy the spring water and get away from the city chaos.

I had sufficient time to be with my thoughts, with Micah, with Allie. It’s not so bad when they’re around.

-SJ

Song for the trip:

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