Natural Hot Springs.
It wasn’t because we’d had enough of the scenic coast, got tired of seeing the crashing waves, became bored of the sandy beaches, that we were lured back inland. It was for the hot springs. The centre of Oregon is mostly National Forest and very thermal/volcanic. We had read about a few natural hot springs that were not too far apart just inland of Eugene.
Our first stop was at the Terwilliger hot springs, we arrived there about an hour before sunset. Apparently it had become a popular spot with local rowdies so there are lots of signs about it being closed sundown to sunrise, but we thought we’d go for a quick explore. After a short hike in we came across 4 rocky pools. We were not alone, but luckily I was prepared for the fact that most people opt for a clothing free approach to their soak (we did not). The hot springs were amazing though, the top pool lovely and hot, cooling off a little as they got further away from the spring.
We camped nearby so we could go back first thing in the morning. Then we did have the place to ourselves for about an hour. The pools were very clean and we didn’t stink of sulphur when we came out.
From here we drove down the very scenic highway 19 through the forest. It felt like no one had been on this road for years, green moss was growing on the road and the trees were creeping close, meeting overhead.
We came out at the little town of Westfir and headed south to McCredie Springs. We have travelled enough now to know that you can never totally trust the guidebooks, and in this case the lonely liar struck again. It described these pools as the biggest in Oregon, just off the road. What we found were a couple little pools by the river, possibly big enough for one person but too hot. There were people across the river so we decided to try and get around to the other side. Here we did find the remnants of what used to be some nice big pools, there had been a big flood recently that basically wiped out all the built up rocks, so people were trying to slowly rebuild it. The pools were now pretty murky, but still quite nice, and we had some great company in 2 older local men who told us about the history of the hot springs as well where to find the best mushrooms.
We attempted to get to one more hot springs which sounded like it would be the best of them all (if you believe the guidebooks!) but were deterred by too much snow on the mountain passes. Defeated we decided just to return to the coast. Life is hard I know! This morning the sun is shining and we are looking forward to the next stretch of rugged coast before getting to California.