With a couple hundred arbitrary miles left on the van before the check up, we headed inland to Bagby Hot Springs. This place was described by some Portland locals as a ‘must see’ and ‘magical,’ and by others as a place ‘full of dirty hippies’. Depending on your perspective, it was all of the above.
Bagby is about 40 miles from the nearest semblance of civilization and it’s another 1.5 mile wooded hike from there. It’s a beautiful drive – you follow the Clackamas River East from Portland on Forest Service roads.
Anyway, we made it out to the springs around twilight (take a flashlight for the hike back!) and enjoyed what we found. We haven’t seen anything quite like it.
The place was created some time in the early 1900’s and consists of the natural hot springs bubbling out of the ground and into hollowed out cedar logs and tree branches that duct the water to a series of wooden tubs. The tubs are, of course, hollowed out tree trunks. Pick a tub, plug the bung hole, and open the wooden chute until your tub is full of hot spring water (136 degrees!) Add a bucket of cool spring water from a well to set the desired temperature. Soak, relax, repeat.
Bode has turned into a hot-tubber, so he had a great time.
We met some interesting folks too – the smokey hippies, the annihilated good ‘ole boy drinking whiskey from a Pepsi can (yeah, it’s obvious), the Russians, etc. Everyone was friendly and enjoyed themselves.
Bode suggested that instead of hiking out here, there should be a roller coaster. Everyone agreed that a roller coaster ride through the forest out to the springs would be far out, man.
We were given random advice on investing in gold and were told about when the Hell’s Angels took over the place. Apparently, it can get pretty crowded and rowdy on the weekends too. Even though we were here on a weekday, it would only take a few more people with a few more vices and things could get out of hand quickly.
After camping at the springs for a night and having huge spiders drop out of the trees on us, we’re now on our way to get the final engine check up. I expect we may actually leave Oregon today. We couldn’t have broken down in a better town, or met nicer people.
By the way, Angela found the Lonely Planet forum Long-Term Family Travel and Sabbatical. The moderator, Sarah Smith blogs about roadschooling her 2 kids while they travel the world for a year. We can’t imagine having to add the responsibility of formally educating Bode (at least not at this point in the journey) and find her story really inspirational.
She held a Q&A with Angela and you can read it here.
I think she said it best:
Long-term family travel is ripe for self-doubt. We rented out our home, pulled the kids out of school, dug deep into savings, reduced our stuff to what we can carry, jeopardized professional relationships, drove away from our neighborhood, and promptly stopped hearing from more than half of our friends.
Are we doing the right thing? And what exactly are we doing, anyway?
–Sarah Smith at www.away-together.com