Each week at the end of a merciless string of fittings, showroom visits, and sitting idle in L.A. traffic, I’m usually smacked with the urge to get up and venture away from the city and head out into the open. In short, that means spending some much-needed time nestled in the arms of mother nature. Photos by Joe Perri & Chris Cash.
In most cases, I’d rather a good old-fashioned camping trip with just the bare necessities to most luxury “getaways” so a quick trip to the hot springs in Apple Valley felt like the perfect weekend adventure and a good excuse to strip down and dip into nature’s version of a warm mineralizing bath.
Tucked away between layers of mountains there we were, four thrill seekers looking for a really mellow time away from all modern connectivity and the mumbo-jumbo that came along with it. We turned our phones off and decided to bring just the basics: some snacks, water, booze, our cameras, and (of course) my Stetson hat.
As we made our way up then eventually down the unpaved roads into Bowen Ranch we generously allowed ourselves time and frequent stops to listen to the quiet voice of the valley, absorb the landscape, and soak in the blazing sun.
The panoramic views of massive dust-covered rocks and perennial foliage spread across the valley lead us to purposely lag behind, 35mm’s in-hand, to appreciate and photograph the scenery… Climbing rocks, foraging for wild foods, the usual fucking around.
A steep 2.5 mile hike down and before we knew it, we had arrived at what felt like a mirage, but it certainly wasn’t. We finally stumbled upon the charming oasis famously known as Deep Creek Hot Springs. Needless to say, it was a magical sight that instantly felt like we were miles and miles away from the city’s clutter and noise.
It didn’t take much for us to peel our sweat-soiled gear off, pull out a few brews, and slip into the warm water. We had our pick of five hot spring pools, but we weren’t alone; the hot springs are a widely popular hangout for those that crave a relaxing dip after a day of hiking or just a weekend hang-out near a natural bathtub. During our weekend stay we met a few really friendly folks, some were members of a nudist colony camping out for the week (who were kind enough to share an acorn mash recipe with me), bio-engineers from Germany visiting for the afternoon, a couple of local lovebirds taking a flirty dip, and a certain old-timer who has been kicking back at the “hotspot” since his early teenage years.
The Apple Valley Hot Springs are widely coveted and enjoyed by a community of locals, travelers, and newbies all respectfully camping, soaking it in, and sharing moments of bliss provided by mother nature. Energetically charged, I felt calmed, relaxed, and inspired by the lively water and environment.
After soaking for a few hours we hiked back to camp and got ready for a night under the brightest moon and an unobstructed, clear view of the stars. All to do it again the next day…