Monday, December 14, 2009

Big Blue Campsite Review: No Name campground and Terwilliger Hot Springs

2 of my oldest friends, Shalin and Kutz (pronounced "koots") from Michigan now live in Eugene. It's a shame that we don't get to see each other more often, as they are the type of friends who keep me grounded and know me from where I grew up. Plus, they dig camping and are hippies in loose corporate disguise.

I had been in touch with them through out the Oregon VW bus trip, waiting to meet up somewhere. And it worked out that somewhere was a no name campground down the road from Terwilliger Hot Springs in the Willamette National Forest.

They had both talked highly of the hot springs. It would be a first hot spring experience for EP and I, and I must admit, we were a little curious and maybe a bit apprehensive of what we would find.

So EP and I arrived there early enough to explore the hot springs on our our. $5 gets you permission to enter from the lady at a table at the front. After a short hike back, you crest a hill to see a series of steaming pools of water in a row, damned up lagoons of hot mineral water.

And, yes, naked people.

This hot spring is built so there are almost a series of bleachers overlooking the hot springs, which is fine when you are in the "bleachers". But when you are in the hot springs and others are looking down on you, it's a little odd.

I'll be honest, EP and I kept our suits on. And there were 3 other girls there who did the same. They probably remember me as the guy who stared at them. Because I was so careful not to "stare" at the people going naked, that I found myself looking at EP and the other clothed girls most of the time.

It was fun. But EP and I were ready to go after soaking a while. Booze wasn't allowed, but a cold beer would have made it perfect.

I'm not sure where we slept. I couldn't find a name on the campground anywhere. But it was south of the hot springs on Cougar Dam Road. It was nice enough. We made friends with a neighbor who stopped by. And the 3 clothed girls from the hot springs were there. And, soon Shalin and Kutz showed up to hang out and camp with us.

Big Blue and Kutz's Ford.

The site was right on the river. Which, after a night of campfire, drum playing (Shalin brought his djembe) and beer drinking, was a nice place to explore in the morning.

Of course it is always good to see friends again. And even though I had seen them at a wedding earlier in the summer, there was something special about camping with these guys again. In high school, I can't tell you how many nights we spent involved in some sort of trouble - sleeping on the beach, sleeping on the roof of the high school, and ordinary camping. I've been jammed into the back of a car on some sort of tearing through the night adventure with these guys so often, that camping with them now in Oregon reminded me a bit of who I am. And it was nice.

Later in the morning, I gave them both "Big Blue is a friend of mine" bumper stickers and we fired up Blue and left. They were headed to the hot springs and we were headed east, starting to turn back toward home. The trip was almost over. The pull of the real world picking back up.

Before we left, we set up the camera to catch all 4 of us. The dog from next door strolled over and got into our picture, making it just about perfect...

BV, Kutz, Shalin, EP and a random dog...


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