Thanks in large part to the efforts of volunteers who lugged hundreds of pounds of fine sand up the steep trail to the springs, repairs to the spring sources appear to be holding and actually working better than we expected. As of yesterday (Friday), the Bear Den sources are running at 107.9F at the pool inlet, with a slightly increased flow. Taking the pool temperature on the corner furthest from the inlet reads a nice and toasty 103.5F.
The Lobster feed coming into the other pool is beginning to recover with its’ inlet temperature right at 80F and a degree cooler in the pool . . . making Lobster (for right now) a great plunge pool to cool off in if you get too hot soaking in Bear Den. Bear Den has been thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned. Soaking should be superlative.
|Repairing the damage to the Bear Den sources
(Matt shown playing in the muck and ruining my gloves)
It goes without saying that the spring sources are very fragile and sensitive to messing around with. There is a lot of hot water underground that comes out in dozens of locations on this mountainside. But only in a few places are conditions and geology right for the geothermal waters to emerge cleanly and without undue mixing with ground waters. The rock fractures of Bear Den and Lobster are a couple of them.
Unfortunately, someone thinks they know better than the foremost natural hot spring expert in North America (the owner). They persist in thinking they can ‘improve’ the hot springs simply by digging a bigger hole. It doesn’t work that way and all they accomplished was providing a way to allow cold and dirty ground water to infiltrate the hot water before it emerged. When we discovered the damage, Bear Den was a muddy mess and a full five degrees cooler than normal . . . barely around body temperature. Lobster, of course, was in its’ annual snowmelt recovery phase . . . leaving lousy soaking conditions for everyone. For that reason, we closed the springs to see if we could repair the damage done by the well-meaning (I assume) person.
Playing around with the spring sources is pretty serious stuff and the consequences could have been such that Scenic would have been closed for a long time. The owner is adamant about this: anyone caught trying to ‘improve’ the hot springs sources WILL BE ARRESTED for both trespassing and malicious property damage. Do not mess with the sources.
Commensurate with that damage, the late night trespassers and all-around bad crowd was up there destroying as much of the springs as their irresponsible behavior could. About the same time this someone (and we think we know who he might be) messed with the sources, some late-night trespassers tore up half the decking and railings and used them to make a large fire beside the pools. That occupied a large amount of time bringing the tools and supplies up to replace the destroyed railing, secure replacement deck boards and clean up the the mess of half-burned treated lumber.
|Probably the same group returning a few days later and firing
their guns directly from the pools. The bottom of the pools
were littered with spent (as well as unspent) rounds.
How about this for an idiot? Set a bag of Kingston Charcoal near the tubs, light it . . . and then set a couple of steaks directly on the coals to cook them. Yuck!
|The remains of an overcooked, partially-eaten steak attracting flies
and wildlife. The coals sat partially on the deck and were still
hot when I come upon them.
So . . . all in all, trespassing is not abating and we are going to have to do something about it before the county closes us down once more. So the call is out: any previous, well-behaved visitors who have asked before and are looking to an opportunity to help . . . we are looking for those who would be willing to do some late-night visits and kind of watch the property for trespassers. This is an opportunity to visit and soak at night . . . possibly camp . . . and help deter trespassing. This is not a carte blanc pass to visit . . . you must still let us know ahead of time. There are certain nights of the week when we have problems and need to have someone on-site. It is also not to confront (and possibly put yourself in danger). It is merely to provide a presence and hopefully educate people. If you are looking for the chance to soak legally at night, contact us to arrange a face-to-face with details.
But best of all . . . Scenic is a great soak right now . . . and, it is open . . . if you ask first.