Part of my fascination with the ‘new’ west is the constantly changing landscape, even though the earthquakes still scare me. Two different trips to Mammoth Hot Creek (actually a portion of the Owens River) recently brought some of the crevices and pools into focus. Hot creeks and hot springs abound in this area due to cracks in the earth’s crust allowing water to flow down to the magma lurking just below the surface of this volcano-rich area.
The first time I traveled to Hot Creek, it was pretty cold and the steam was obscuring some of the colors; but it does show how much warmer the water is than the air.
Interestingly, four days after my first visit to Hot Creek, I felt an earthquake while having my coffee in the morning. There was a boom, then the RV shook for about 10 seconds. There wasn’t much damage except that the water main supplying me was broken, it was repaired later that afternoon.
This particular area is catch and release only for fishing- which is a good thing because of the warning of arsenic. There was a very slight sulfur smell, not enough to be really smelly.
Most of the hot springs in the area have been piped and cemented by the State of California. This one actually has a hot/cold spigot. There were many people taking advantage of the hot springs even though the temps were in the mid-thirties! As we were leaving, a couple with a baby was walking along the path, I asked if they were going in and they said yes and the baby too!
The mountains in the far back of this photo are the White Mountains – about 25 miles to the east.
The steam shows a tiny creek flowing across the pasture that is a much smaller version of Hot Creek. The mountains in the back of this photo are part of the Eastern Sierras: Mammoth Mountain and the Minarets.