Trip participant Chuck Nadeau wanted to visit hot spring in the hills east of Bridgeport. He queried our group to see if anyone wanted to join him.
There was only one person willing enough to accompany Chuck.
It started off well - we had a map and the first turn came up about a half mile out of town, off of Highway 395. "This must be the dirt road!" Chuck enthused, turning onto a dirt track that looked passable by someone on foot equipped with grappling hooks.
"Are you sure, Chuck? It doesn't look like anyone's driven up this road in a while."
"Yeah, the map says a dirt road with a fence line on our left. This has to be it!"
Somehow, perhaps through the graces of the God I don't believe in, we topped out in Chuck's little Honda after a mile of slipping and sliding on a dirt track that. After turn around and surviving the downhill portion of the ride, we turned back onto what we were sure was the right road, only to find ourselves inexplicably back at Highway 395.
Finally finding the right road to a dirt parking lot, we grabbed our towels and poked along what we thought was a trail. It wasn't a trail Eventually, advancing through the blackness with the help of a bright flashlight Chuck had picked up earlier in the day, we came to an amazing hot spring, which conveniently came with a few hot tub-sized pools formed of calcium carbonate.
Before slipping into the steaming water, we made some photographs, including this one under moonlight, and one with the help of the flashlight to paint the scene. Then we soaked ourselves for a while, luxuriating in the warmth, admiring the night sky, and watching the crescent moon dip behind the Sierras. Though we heard a car pull into the parking lot over a low ridge, and though we expected to find other people at the pools, we were alone the entire time we soaked away our cares.
The journey to the hot spring was Chuck's idea, as was the plan to make some photographs. It was his camera that accompanied us, so major credit for the results belong to Chuck.