November 29th, 2009 – by: X_Drive
The one and only active building at California Hot Springs.
After a couple of days of eating Turkey, dressing, and all the fixings for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner that my wife, scratch cook prepares each November, my system finally ridded itself of the Tryptophan, that chemical that supposedly causes you to feel drowsy. With my mind clear I decided to take a day trip just to get out and enjoy the outdoors before the fall weather got too cold and rainy or snowy.
We had seen a small story some time back about this old Yokut Indian place where they came to bath in this Artesian spring water reputed to cure their ills. The water contains 188 different minerals, but unlike most hot springs is not full of sulfur, so there is none of the rotten egg smell.
The large pool and two spas.
This is called the California Hot Springs, and was finally discovered by ranchers in the San Joaquin valley around 1860. Their real reason to be there was to bring their cattle up to the 3,700 foot level to beat the heat of the valley.
When they finally discovered the healthy benefits a resort was begun. That was about 1882, and it is surrounded on three sides by Giant Sequoia National Monument. It never became the great commercial center they envisioned, and especially after the large hotel that had been built in 1902 burned down in 1932. And the commercial center followed in 1968. Later the facility was abandoned for more than 15 years, until a restoration project rebuilt the recreation facility which now includes an ice cream parlor, deli-style restaurant, gift shop, and a Water Co.
office. Across the street and high on the hill is now an RV park with 43 full hookups including water, sewer, electricity and TV and also restrooms with showers and flushing toilets. This place is a real hide away, and if you go there for anything more than quiet relaxation and enjoying the Hot Spring you will be disappointed.
The main pool, which is 44 foot by 66 foot, is cooled to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and the two spas, each about 20 feet across, that are attached by a wonderful concrete deck are kept at 101 degrees and 106 degrees. The water as it comes from the spring is 125 degrees, and flows at about 350,000 gallons per day. The day we visited it was only about 50 degrees outside so we hadn’t even thought of bringing our suimsuits, but the steam coming off the spas, especially the hotter of the two looked good and warm.
We walked around, spoke to the owner, and took several pictures.
She spends her days here quietly playing cards with her help and friends. One of the real nice little treasures she has on her walls is a spoon collection that one of her relatives left for her. A nice collection of nearly 200 spoons from all over the world.
Just inside the door
After leaving California Hot Springs, which is south-east in the foothills from Porterville, we drove back down through the rolling hills with an idea to make one more stop today, but we were slowed by a discovery of something we had not seen before. There along the road in front of a landowners property was a large forest of cactus. And although a few of the plants looked familiar, some were of a variety I have never seen before.
Now I am not in a way a knowledgeable person when it comes to cactus, but growing up in the south western section of the U. S. I have seen a fair share. I had to stop and take a few pictures. If you can identify the variety I would appreciate it.
From there we made our way on to the last real stop of the day, Eagle Mountain Casino. This was one of the first Indian Casinos to open here in our area of California. It is located back in a valley on the reservation of the Tule River tribe of Yokut Indians, about twelve miles off of the main roads. After trying unsuccessfully to move their casino down closer to the Highway, they have recently begun adding and upgrading what they have.
We decided to stop and take a look and see if our luck there may have changed in the last couple of years. In we go, find a machine slot machine we feel comfortable with and in goes the money. A few pulls (actually pokes of the buttons) and the money has done its magical and usual thing here at the casino, disappeared! A girl came past a moment later and offered us a nice twelve ounce Styrofoam cup of either hot coffee or cold soda, so we picked the soda. And we brought those cups home with us as the most expensive souvenirs we had gotten from that establishment.
A beautiful spoon collection.