We launched our Spring 20 Collection of prints last week. With that launch came the Sierra Spring Fade and Sierra Summer Fade. Over the holidays, our photographer and videographer, Samson Hatae, drove from his family's home in Southern California back to Rumpl HQ in Portland and captured some content along the way. This is is story. Hint: there are epic hot springs involved.
The long drive from Southern California to Portland can be done a few different ways. The quickest, is to shoot straight up The 5 through the middle of California. It feels like you are on a treadmill until you get to Shasta Lake in Northern California. Then, there is the Coastal Route via the 101 and the 1––which is a very beautiful but also a very slow drive. The third option takes the longest route: drive through the ever-changing scenery of Highway 395 and go hot spring hunting through the Sierra Range. On my most recent trip north, I chose option three.
Leaving the Los Angeles area mid-morning to avoid some traffic, I hit the road north. The Sierra Mountain Range starts to appear just as you get through Red Rock Canyon State Park, a worthy stop if you need to stretch the legs. One of my favorite places to watch the sun set is from Alabama Hills. The orange rocks are a great contrast to the blue hues of the mountains behind them.
I got there with enough time to set up and watch the sun dip behind the peaks. As much as I love camping in the Alabama Hills, I had a plan to soak in some of California's best hot springs in the morning, so I continued on my way. Driving further north I got to watch the sky continue to change colors as I got through Bishop. Bishop lies between the Sierra Mountain Range and the White Mountain Range. It’s location makes it a nice central point to the fun in the surrounding area. I couldn’t pass through without a stop at Erick Schat’s Bakery for some snacks for the road.
With plans to wake up early for a soak, I drove up the dirt road leading towards Travertine Hot springs to find a spot to sleep for the night.The forecast was looking pretty chilly for the night, but luckily, I was prepared with plenty of blankets. Since I arrived after dark I didn’t know what to expect in the morning, but I awoke before the sun to see the Eastern Sierras glowing in the dawn light. It was hard not to stare, and I almost forgot to take a picture. The camping spot was a short distance from the hot springs and driving up, I could see a pile of cars in the lot. Even though it was early on a weekday morning, every tub was taken. Everyone was soaking in the warmth of the tubs and the epic views. Being one of the easier hot springs to access, the crowds were to be expected.
I decided to take the gamble and head to another hot spring that was a little less accessible, but not too far away. Buckeye Hot Springs is located just outside of Bridgeport, about 5 miles off the main highway via a dirt road. My van doesn’t have the best off road capabilities, but I was determined to make it there. After a few iffy sections I was greeted with an empty parking lot; I had the place to myself. The tubs near the top have amazing views of the little valley below, but I was interested in the tubs below. That’s where the hot water flows into the tub from the rocks above from a little waterfall. The lower tub is also located next to a river so you get the soothing sound of it flowing as you soak.
The glory of being the only person at the hot springs didn’t last long as people slowly started to arrive, but even so, it was well worth the gamble of the dirt road. After a satisfying evening enjoying nature and a morning in the hot springs, it was time to continue the journey north to Oregon.