Apple Valley: Deep Creek Hot Springs
Every hobo who has seen Into The Wild harbours dreams of recreating bits of Christopher McCandless’ story. And by bits, I mean the pink bits of the free-living hippies who frolic in that mystical desert nudist retreat. Well now you can. I will probably have multiple curses laid on me for revealing the whereabouts of these sacred pools, but que sera sera sera. You can do Deep Creek Hot Springs as a day trip from Los Angeles, but once you get off the highway, shit gets real. A bumpy dirt road through the desert will see you pass coyotes, cactuses and an abundance of formidable “NO TRESPASSING” signs. Just stay on the track, turning right at Bowen Ranch Road until you reach the ranch. There, an alarm will go off and an extremely jaded farmer dude will crack some Wolf Creek jokes and make you pay him $5 to park on his property, or $10 to camp. There is an alternate route with free parking (Branford Ridge), but it’s much more complex and you will most likely be shot by a cowboy. Once you park, a 40-minute hike through more desert will lead you to paradise: steaming hot pools, a crystalline freshwater creek, an abundance of beautiful naked hippies and a scattering of not-so-beautiful naked old men. It’s hard not to stare, but try your best to keep your loins cool, as everyone there is a dinky-di naturist who is perfectly capable of sustaining an innocent conversation about the weather without getting erect (despite my best attempts on a gorgeous chocolate man with a penis the size of baby’s arm). There are signs that say you can’t camp down there, but every hippie and his dog (of which there are lots) have set up tents or a swag. No one’s gonna check.