[conspire] CABAL day coming up (Saturday); interest in a Sykes Hot Springs visit?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Feb 23 16:22:27 PST 2012

Lookie what gcal says:

$ cal

   February 2012    
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
          1  2  3  4
 5  6  7  8  9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29

That means this Satuday will be a CABAL day.  I'm likely to have a bunch
more hardware to play with.  Les Faby was talking about bringing
supplies for some homemade pizza, including one with a gluten-free crust
so that Deirdre can have some.  I'll be thinking about other additions,
but garlic bread is a given.

Anyone also want to join me for a special hike, some weekend?  California 
has a lot of hot springs (driven by underground volcanic forces; part of
the plus side of being on the Ring of Fire).  Some remain natural,
others got included during Victorian days into formal spas.  

1. Here's one that's fascinating but closed to the public for now:
It's very close in to the South Bay and a very attractive and historic
site, but needs renovation before it can be opened again.  Only members
of the Friends of Gilroy Hot Springs (volunteers attempting to fix the
site) and state park rangers are permitted for now.

2. Tassajara Hot Springs is a bit further out, and part of the Zen monastic
complex.  During the season, a modest fee and trip down a scary dirt
mountain road permits day trips, and it's said to be very scenic and
worth the trouble -- but this isn't the season.

3. The one I'm talking about is a bit further still, Sykes Hot Springs,
which is a completely natural site next to Big Sur River.  Drive south 
of Carmel, 1/2 mile past Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park's main entrance, to
Big Sur Forest Service Station (buy a parking permit, $5/day), enter the 
parking lot, park at the far end.  The trailhead of the Pine Ridge Trail
is there, and it's the one you take.

The hitch is that it's 11 miles of hiking up and down, inlands into the
Ventana Wilderness in beautiful but rugged parklands.  This takes four 
hours.  Everyone says it's do-able even for middle-aged duffers,
provided you're in reasonable shape.

Upon going down trail switchbacks to the Big Sur River, the hot springs 
are findable a few hundred yards downstream on the same side of the
river, as a set of three natural pools marked by rockpiles people have


I have in mind to soak in the hot tubs for an hour, and then hike back
out, which takes about two to three hours.  

4.  The near part of the Central Valley, not too far southeast of
Livermore, includes the somewhat developed / privately owned-managed but
very laid bad Mercey Hot Springs, https://merceyhotsprings.com/, $20 per
person for 4 hours of day use, etc.  Would make a pleasant highlight for
a bicycle ride.

There are _many_ hot springs in the eastern Sierra where Deirdre and I
were a couple of weeks ago, some of the undeveloped/free and some
developed/private, but we didn't have time to visit any:

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