Hot Times at Hot Creek

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.

Lots of steam.

HotCreek (2 of 14)

HotCreek (3 of 14)

Lots of signs like this and another that said 14 people had lost their lives here or been badly scalded. Despite the warnings all over, the second day I was there with the kids, there were fisher people right beside some of the bubbling pools.
Lots of signs were all over – like this and another that said 14 people had lost their lives here or been badly scalded. Despite the warnings, the second day I was there with the grandkids, there were fisher people (men and women) right beside some of the bubbling pools.

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.

The second visit showed the colors of the pools - even though it was colder than the first visit.
The second visit showed the colors of the pools – even though it was colder than the first visit there wasn’t as much vapor.
The steam was coming out of a crevice - no water showing.
The steam was coming out of a crevice – no water showing.

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.

HotCreek (7 of 14)

HotCreek (8 of 14)

You cannot see it from the photo, but further down the creek, the water was bubbling and steaming out of the small pool beside the creek.
You cannot see it from the photo, but further down the creek, the water was bubbling and steaming out of the small pool beside the creek. Those are the Glass Mountains (lots of obsidian in the area) in the back of the photo.
Ada (4 years old) spied this Bald Eagle as we were traveling away from a fish hatchery that was closed for the season.
Ada (4 years old) spied this Bald Eagle as we were traveling away from a fish hatchery that was closed for the season.

HotCreek (1 of 1)-2

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!

HotCreek (14 of 14)

The mountains in the far back of this photo are the White Mountains – about 25 miles to the east.

HotCreek15 (1 of 1)

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.

4 Comments

    1. That’s one thing I have to work on, since I changed themes I don’t like how comments and like button are situated. More computer time. I think because I was IT in my working life, my mind rebels at ‘computer time’!

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