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2016 - Trip Report - Muddling through the Mud at Tecopa

Muddling Through the Mud at Tecopa

By Ding (Edna) Elnar-Wicker

I have been attending the Desert Explorers Rendezvous since I came to the US in 1998. The annual event always ushers in some excitement: it is a gathering of friends and familiar faces and a welcome opportunity to meet new members and establish friendship. The event can also involve activities that can be very exciting such as the advertised trips to interesting locations around the rendezvous site. These trips include easy to moderate hikes, finding petroglyphs or pictoglyphs or exploring old or abandoned mines or just poking around beautiful sceneries in the desert. Other trips focus on wild flowers or the flora in the area. Most of the trips I have participated in were interesting and left lasting memories. Those of us who signed up in the past to take a trip to a brothel in Pahrump probably would say that that was just an anomaly in what the DE customarily does!

The recent 2016 DE rendezvous was a special occasion for me. Allan and I stayed at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. On Friday, 1 April, after we returned from the potluck dinner, we decided to take it easy. The resort management put up an outdoor film showing that was reasonably well attended. We also noticed that there was a group outside our room that was stargazing. We joined that group and were able to see several galaxies and even Jupiter and four of its moons. Very dramatic! What fun to be viewing the sky in the desert where neon lights don’t compete with the stars!

The following day, Saturday, 2 April, we signed up for Susan Sorels’ hike at the Dublin Gulch which started at 1:00 p.m. Thus we had a morning to spend on our own. We started off the day in a relaxing fashion. After I got up, I showered and then went to our private hot bath that was said to contain minerals with healing properties. The bath was pleasant but not overwhelmingly exciting. Alone in the tub, I had the opportunity to let my mind wander off, and just feel relaxed.

The nearby Community Center had an emergency and rescue event. We went to find information regarding a route to take to the nearest wildflowers. We were told that there wasn’t much because of low rainfall. So we went on, exploring on our own! We found a spectacular spot hidden amidst mud hills along Tecopa-Shoshone Road. A steaming pool, with at least three bathers! One guy was completely naked but I stayed away from him. Interested in the prospect of soaking in the pool, I spoke to the lady who was there. She and her husband frequently come to the pool from the Bay Area to relax to take advantage of the supposedly healing elements the pool experience affords. Listening to them, I was convinced not to forego
the opportunity. We went back to our hotel to don our swimsuits and returned.

An Internet search told me that the water temperature (hottest part/closest to the source) was 118 degrees Fahrenheit. It was indeed too hot for me, but I managed to go further where the water temperature was tolerable. But the naked guy was still there. He seemed to have a skin as tough as steel for him to stay in the water that long. The middle-aged man and his wife that I befriended earlier helped me take the mud bath. I covered myself with mud and let it dry on my skin for a few minutes to be able to get the healing benefits! What a pleasant experience! Against the advice of the couple, I took another shower at our hotel to rinse off the mud that lingered on my body.

After the bath, I felt relaxed and cleansed -- really cleansed. After all, I had taken 4 baths before noon that day. I set a record right there!

Indeed, muddling through the mud of Tecopa was the highlight of my Saturday of Rendezvous 2016!