Los Padres, Sespe Wilderness 2015

Towards the end of the year one of my best friends came to the west coast for another visit and, after way too long, finally it was time to once again get out of civilization. So why not go backpacking? It was way too long since I&ve been away from everything, and it seemed like a great time. After looking at some different options, we decided on staking a claim to a few campsites in the Sespe Wilderness. With the promise of hot springs!

I had been back along the Sespe River trail many years ago but never made it too far in; that first time was after a big fire and we camped at the first swimming hole we found. This time would be quite different.

Armed with the standard, sub-standard issue USFS Los Padres southern districts map we went out along the trail. I remembered the nice flat sections at the beginning, but with a GPS that wouldn't charge and a nondescript map, landmarks were no help and no signs were present. After a day of hiking we had made it far in. It felt like we had gone a ways, adn the rock formations through the mountains were very much more varied than I had remembered. Gorgeous land, but a dry river and nice campground let us make camp the first night wondering if even we were on the right trail.

The next morning brought with it obligitory coffee brewing time, and also grought Forrest and his dog with questions too if we were on the right trail since it seemed like we should be closer! After Forrest plowed on and we saw the sun, we kept heading East, giving it another couple of ridges before we turned around. And then, just over a few ridges was a sign! So we pushed on. Then, over the next ridge we hadn&t attempted to cross the day before, in the distance, a sign!

We pushed on and eventually made it to Willett, and then the sight of the steep trail uphill It would be a shame too so far and not see the springs, so we trudged on up. After a hundred feet or so there were clusters of trees and the sulfur was on teh air and there was the hot spring! Forrest recounted his own tale of seeing the sign and howling in joy, so as he warmed up a burrito my friend and I soaked. There are warmer hot springs, but to how many of them have people inexplicably portaged up a full tub, piping, and macgyvered a natural jacuzzi! The 85 degree or so water was enough to relax, the sulfur to clear the sinuses, and the ambiance to just be.

That evening we pushed on back to what we thought was Oak Flat, but actually was Bear Creek, and then on out. On the way on out met a bunch of people just starting on their way in and was just thankful to have such a pretty spot to ourselves for a few hours!

The Photographs

Picutres were from the a900 system with the 24-70 lens.

Click "Next" in the upper right to begin.