Grover Hot Springs State Park, CA -- Monday, 10/10/16
After checking into Woodfords Inn Monday afternoon, we decided to go exploring. Nothing like hopping back in the car after a long drive! Six miles south of our Inn is the town of Markleeville, population under-200, elevation approx 5500'. We were fortunate to find a visitor's center open and a knowledgeable lady inside ready to answer questions and offer suggestions. Otherwise, it seemed Markleeville had closed up shop for the year. Indeed, after leaving the VC, the first guy we spotted seemed fossilized (below, with Jimmy)!
Before leaving home, our friend, Cliff, mentioned going to Grover's Hot Springs St Pk, and advised us to take our bathing suits. (That's the third item I'd forgotten ... sigh.) The VC lady also mentioned the springs and hiking trails in the state park. And, it was only four miles down the road from Hwy 89. That suited us just fine. Oh, OK, off we went to Grover Hot Springs, sans suits (and hiking shoes).
After passing the campground (still open, no hookups), this fine golden meadow opened up before us. The state park is situated at nearly 6,000' on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, at the edge of the Great Basin. Markleeville itself is a mere stone's throw from the State of Nevada. In fact, when we couldn't find a restaurant open for dinner, we drove down the mountain to Gardnerville, NV and enjoyed a tasty Mexican meal.
One of the hot springs owners, Charles Scossa, lived in this log cabin, built ??
Still standing, but it looks like it's seen better days!
We started out walking on this peaceful trail, our footsteps softened by layers of pine needles. This time of year, the crowds are gone, and we encountered no one else. Very tranquil, and what we've come to truly appreciate when we're Out and About. Of course there are other trails in the park, but this 2.5 mile R/T was all we wanted today.
When the trees opened up, mountain vistas could be seen. Lots of rocky outcrops, too.
We were loosely following tumbling Hot Springs Creek and here we successfully "jumped it." In Birkenstock's, I had to keep shaking tiny pieces of crushed granite and bits of pine needles from each shoe bed, not the best footwear for trail hiking! But, I kinda got used to it. (below)
Suddenly we heard water falling, and followed the sound to the waterfalls on the opposite side of a narrow canyon from where I'm standing. We spotted several cascades, but this seemed to be the main one. Judging from footsteps in the soft dirt, others had clambered over boulders and climbed down into the canyon and up the other side to the waterfalls, but seeing this "water feature" was cool enough and we didn't need to go further.
We made our way back to the car, wondering about this set of wheels spotted in a meadow.
Definitely not the same log cabin.
I climbed a short hill to read informational signs and watched a couple fill multiple (big and bigger) containers with the hot, somewhat sulphuric water that trickled out of a pipe. Inside the fence is the hot springs pool and on the other side of the building is a cooler, temperature-wise, swimming pool. Next time!
Love autumn's mellow yellows ... the quaking Aspens and Cottonwoods prevalent in the high country. So, we were well after dark returning to Woodfords Inn from our dinner in Nevada, and easily ready to hit the sack early. We'd like to come back here after the winter snows and do some more exploring ... seems to be an awfully lot to do, not just in Grover Hot Springs, but everywhere in these Sierra Nevada Mountains!