Throw Back Story – circa 2016
We felt positively confident about our stop at Granite Hot Springs, since we had been to this public land the year prior. This is our second year touring the northwest US in our Honda FIT and we are feeling more confident in our use of public lands, and how to find them — we even had a few favorites along the way. Granite Hot Springs was our favorite from last year, Hollis loves waterfalls almost as much as trees and Bright Hawk loves hot springs almost as much as the wilderness. We both agreed that this place was worth more exploration and time. We dreamed about our future home on wheels as we drove past RV, Vans, and truck campers staying out on the edge of the river as we arrived. We wondered if the cows would be on the road like the year prior. With experience, we were less nervous about the cattle we encounter grazing on a lot of public lands. Honestly, we prefer seeing them grazing on wild public lands overcrowded bins on industrial cattle farms, at least this way they got to live a fair life, comparatively. We loved it when the cows visit us along the way. This day we didn’t see the cows but it was getting dark when we arrived. We had spent a couple of days in Yellowstone followed by a visit to Grand Teton. After hikes and exploration of the National Parks we were ready for a cozy night under the stars and some therapeutic waters.
This time we knew better than to camp in unmarked land, we got away with it last time but this time there were less people and the campground had plenty of open sites. This time we took a campsite a bit close to the water and the waterfall was now something in the distance. Although knowing it was there somehow inspired the soul. As we set up camp we were careful and bear aware, many signs around camp included warnings about bears. We carefully washed our dishes away from our tent and locked up all our food stuff in the car. Bright Hawk was sure to set up the tent with no scented things that might tempt a bear. We were aware that we were visiting in the fall, a rather hungry time for bears. We tucked ourselves neatly into our beds with dreams of visiting the hot springs the next day and also we needed to figure out where people where going at the end of the road. We fell asleep dreaming of exploring the space the next day in the light of day.
Hollis is a fairly sound sleeper and can be caught sleeping with the loudest of music. They are rarely woken up by anything other than direct contact. This was a night that Hollis felt cozy, confident and very tired after days of hiking. Hollis found themselves woken in what could be defined as ‘the dead of night’ with no signs of the sun and not much noise. Except Hollis noticed something outside the tent, making the entire ground rumble beneath them. As Hollis’ eyes got larger and the part moon shined just enough shadow/light for Hollis to know there was a bear just outside the tent. Sniffing at the picnic table and walking around the camp looking for food. Hollis laid completely still, terrified that a bear was close enough and BIG ENOUGH to make the ground rumble. Hollis’ laid frozen beneath the sleeping bag, sweating but completely focused on what the bear was up to. Hollis hoped they didn’t have the toothbrush in the tent. Suddenly the worried mind took off with all sorts of worries like ‘can it break the windows of the car’ – ‘what if my clothes has food on it and he decides to try to get in here, what should I do’ – Soon Hollis’ storyteller had at least a dozen scenarios with only a half dozen solutions, Hollis’ heart rate increases. Hollis takes a deep breathe and says to themselves silently ‘you are still okay, in this moment everything is okay’ Hollis takes three slow full breaths, in and completely out as much as possible. Then, Hollis listened to the bear and begins to notice the bear was following a different scent, up the hill away from our campsite. Hollis exhales several sighs of relief, wondering if Bright Hawk slept through the whole thing. Hollis whispers, ‘are you awake.’ Bright Hawk says “What is it?” Hollis giggles in silence and whispers, “A bear was just outside the tent. Stay still I think it has left.”
Now in unified listening we both validate that the bear has left our campsite and we both eventually settle back to sleep, ready for our next day. As the sun began to peak over the horizon we found ourselves packing up early so we can explore the rest of the day before we continue driving back to Colorado. As we get a quick breakfast, coffee and tea to go, and everything packed back up in the car. We noticed, while packing, that many cars are just going right by the waterfall/hotspring area. We are excited to see what is past the waterfall since we have never explored past the waterfalls and little soaking spring. We consider soaking before we head down the road because NOW it’s empty, but will it be empty after we explore down the road. We consider our choice for a moment and with the momentum of packing we keep going.
We drive past where we camped last year and the waterfall and hot spring. Here we could park, walk down the hill to the river, cross the river and soak in a little natural hot springs perfect for two people. We did this last year! From the waterfall parking area there was a hill that goes upwards. Last time we had noticed a lot of cars going up there, very carefully in a lot of cases. The road was rutted out and looked like we would need go slow in our little low lying Honda Fit. We wind around a corner and climb up a bit of a hill. As we come around the tree full area we see a building and as we approach we see signs. Signs giving instruction about parking to enter the hot springs, the prices and other various related information.
As we realize that the tiny spring from last time we visited was a teeny weeny reflection of the pools we are now looking at, large enough for 20+ people. For $10 we can soak all day if we want! We look at each other and start laughing at how we completely missed this the year before. Mostly because the road was challenging and we were grateful with what we found, a waterfall and a fun adventure across the river to a hot springs. This time though we decided to treat ourselves to a soaking for a nice long soak. It seems, that in most cases, there is more than one way to do things!
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Need something positive and unique for your event? Bright Hawk offers performances for 60-90 mins of live storytelling with the handpan that will leave your community feeling connected, loved, and inspired. A modern rendition of the ancient art of storytelling with a very modern instrument. Bright Hawk’s messages are sincere, inspiring and engaging to audiences that desire positive thinking, lifelong learning, and love for all people. Bright Hawk offers real-life travel stories, original and traditional fictional stories to intrigue even grown up imaginations. Bright Hawk is planning her 2020 schedule now and welcomes invitations to visit your community in 2020!
Happy New Year B*right Hawk and Hollis. Glad you escaped having a bear confrontation and wouldn’t mind sitting in a hot spring pool in the middle of the wilderness. I enjoyed reading about your travels.* Be sure to drop in next time you are in the vicinity. *Best wishes to you both.* *Love, Jane*