It wasn't long before we made it to a hot spring we attend to go to in the past but was always full or folks were camping and the word "crowded" described the number of bodies in the pool. But not this time. Loftus Hot Springs was our first stop on the trail o' the springs. We were extremely excited to have this pool all to ourselves with only the company of the pups. This is a great full body soaker pool and its only drawback is it is damn hot. Reported to be 108°F, it was every bit of that. A local fella, who was courteous enough to make sure we weren't naked, visited with us and told use decades ago when the spring was first discovered it was actually a cave in the hillside. The remnants of the overhanging walls certainly suggest something once enclosed. If you're fortunate enough to get there first and perhaps camp over night with a small group, this pool is perfect for a small gathering.
Pete's Creek. a couple of fly fisher were enjoying a days fishing and were pulled in next to the river. Even though this is one of our favorites, we didn't stop. Chances are they didn't know it was there and I sure wasn't going to give that away. Perhaps that's just wishful thinking. None the less we'll save it for another day.
We called it the love seat. Sitting under the rain of hot water with perfectly sized droplets, give you a heavenly massage......I could have stayed there all weekend letting the spring wash over me. Awesome is a poor descriptor of this hot spring.
Dutch Frank Hot Springs or Roaring Fork Hot Springs, whichever you prefer, were a small cluster of pools on the opposite bank from the road. You could get to them form the bridge crossing the Middle Fork or you could cross the river. I'd recommend using the bridge. These springs were nice and hot but a little shallow. We didn't stay too long as biting flies drove us out. Camp cologne with 40% DEET just wasn't enough.
Dutch Creek to Jennifer, labeled as Granite Creek in literature, this was a beautiful hot spring. At approximately 130° F at its sources, this was one of the hotter ones we visited. Big and board with a large section of the Middle Fork of the Boise racing along its flanks. Several deep pools made up this system of springs consisting of the perfect sandy bottoms, large sitting rocks. You can easily enjoy a full body soak. Excellently positioned roadside access, you would never notice it was there unless you knew it was. We soaked in the deep main pool with others, not many. Not enough to feel crowded, for there was plenty of room and many pools to enjoy. Several hours melted away. What a grand setting. Only dusk and a need to finding good camping drove us away. As appealing as the board turn out near the road was for setting up camp, we decided to head deeper into the canyon for Queens River Campground.
Another spring we located would be an amazing soak, complete with waterfalls, a deep pool with a gravelly bottom and plenty of privacy, is Chattanooga Hot Springs. So much so that as I peered over the ledge towards its perfect location next to a side channel of the Middle Fork, I caught a glimpse of two people already enjoying its inviting waters and solitude sans any clothing. Yep, buck ass naked!! Well we'll just leave this pool for another day.
Lastly, probably the most scenic spring we enjoyed was Greylock Hot Springs on the banks of the Middle Fork. Like all of the stream side springs you'll only get to this one in the early spring or late summer and fall. With Greylock Mountain as the focal point towering high above, this spring was amazingly beautiful. Several well defined pools made up this chain of springs. Its waters warmed to about 100°F, however in the main pool that had to be a little off. It felt much warmer than that. Aside from the hot water pools, there were a couple deep pools of almost lukewarm water that were more inviting on this hot summer day. As we sat in these pools schools of juvenile fish swam around our feet. The water being so crystal clear made for an outstanding viewing window to the world below. I couldn't help but think that this pool would be my kids favorite.
After stopping at the only establishment open on Sunday we purchased a few cold adult beverages, feed and watered the pups and head down the Middle Fork to try out hand at the finned critters that inhabited it's deep emerald pools. It's hopper season. Quite frankly there was no reason to use anything else. Accompanied with a small nymph dropper such as a pheasant tail, zebra midge or small stone fly, we cast to just about every deep pool from the dam to the campground near Queens River. Most of what we caught were smaller rainbows. With a 2 trout limit and nothing under 14", I was sure we would have the opportunity to tangle with some larger specimens. We had our chances. In one memorable deep hole, I had several near hook ups with what I figure to be bull trout. Vicious as they attached the fly, I was either to slow on the take or to quick on the trigger. I had one on only briefly before it broke off on 3x.......3X!!!
With time ticking away, we had our fill with a few more trout from this gracious river in this ruggedly amazing canyon. Our drive home leisurely and peaceful. A couple of deer made their appearance in the roadway as did a small black bear who ran up from the river bottom after drinking and raced us up the road for a while then made his way rapidly up a crease in the canyon wall. Jennifer hadn't witnessed a black bear that close before so that was a great trip ending treat! I'm constantly in awe at the wildlife and scenic beauty of this place. Blessed are we that take the time enjoy it.