7-Day Forecast for Scenic Hot Springs Area (2,900 ft near beginning of Trail Head)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Scenic Hot Springs is closed indefinitely

Damage to the pools is severe and beyond a quick fix at this time.  As of right now the hot spring pools are completely unsoakable.  We will not approve or accept any future requests for permission until repairs can be accomplished . . . probably not until after the spring thaw when we can work on the structure.

If there are any of the original builders of the tubs still following Scenic (Chuck?  Bear? Dale?) we could use your expertise and thoughts.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Scenic Hot Springs is Closed for Storm Damage Assessment

"US 2 Both Directions - Update 6:29 AM : On US 2 eastbound & westbound at Skykomish (MP 49) to Deception Falls (MP 59) all lanes are blocked due to storm damage. Currently there is no estimated time of reopening. Drivers are advised to use alternate routes. 
Last Updated: 11/19/2015 6:31 AM
From milepost 48 to milepost 59"

Update on Highway 2:  One lane has been reopened for traffic . . . traffic one way at a time with 20 to 30 minutes delays.  Both lanes are expected to be reopened by Tuesday.  

Loss of foundation under bridge at MP 54
Photo Seattle Times

Update on the Hot Springs:
They are still closed.  As soon as we can assess and repair we'll post here and resume allowing visits.

This last storm going through the Cascades has closed Highway 2, including our access to the hot springs.  We know there is reported damage but we yet can not get up there to assess what that damage is.  Therefore, Scenic Hot Springs is closed for the immediate future.  When we know the situation and can repair it we will reopen the springs and post such to this blog.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Weather in Transition

Major rain storms are peppering the slopes of the Cascades. We are in transition . . . soon to be buried in a wintry snowfall. What can we expect?

Rain This Week

We have had our fair share of rain in the Cascades the past few weeks . . . and it seems that trend will continue for at least until late Sunday. Snow levels are projected to stay around the 6,000 feet range. The hot springs lie at 3,500 ft so whatever falls is going to fall as rain.


Stevens Pass has flirted a couple of times with significant snowfall, only to revert back to the rain pattern. Stevens is at 4,000 feet, only another 500 feet higher than Scenic. Snow is close to dusting the slopes of Scenic.

Snow, Snow, Snow

2015-2016 is an El Nino year. Some NOAA models suggest that the Pacific Northwest will experience a warmer and drier that normal winter. Anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise and many of us believe the west slopes of the Central Cascades (where Scenic is) will experience a heavier than normal winter. If (and when) that happens is anybodys' guess but snow is coming and we need to be prepared for it.

Just before the trail head a few years past  . . . got your snowshoes?  It got much deeper.

The record is marked on a tree near the springs. That marker (from 1996) is easily 20 feet off the ground. We used to carve out snow tunnels on our way up to Scenic.

How the Hot Spring Sources are affected

There are two pools at the main spring site. These two pools are fed from two separate sources about twenty feet apart but routed entirely different. Lobster Pot is the hotter of the sources, running 110 to 118 degs F. The other pool is fed from the Bear Den sources, with a little less flow and temperatures five degrees cooler.

Lobster Pot is a shallow running spring fissure. It is extremely sensitive to ground water resulting from heavy rains (in autumn) and snow melt (in springtime). Once air temperatures start to drop below freezing, ground water locks up and does not affect the Lobster Pot feeds through the winter. Of course, spring brings snow melt and returning ground water flows mixing and cooling Lobster Pot to unacceptable soaking temperatures. But during the height of winter Lobster Pot is glorious hot and wonderful.

Bear Den spring sources emit from a fissure beneath a massive jut of bedrock and are thus insulated from incidental mixing with ground water. The result is that the Bear Den temperatures and flows are stable throughout the year. Lobster Pot may be five degrees hotter but Bear Den will hold its temperature year round while Lobster goes cold through much of the spring snow melt.

Be prepared for Backwoods Winter Weather

That same year the Cascades set snowfall records a drunk and wired visitor went up to the hot springs in the middle of the night (2am'ish) with a couple of his friends. He wore little more than a teeshirt and threadbare sneakers. A fairly moderate snow storm was happening and tracks were quickly filled in. This visitor fell behind his friends (who made it to the springs and partied hard) and then became confused as the heavy snowfall obliterated the track and their footsteps. He missed the switchback and wasn't found until days later . . . fortunately alive. The Seattle PI hailed him as a hero . . . I consider him an idiot. He was totally unprepared for the weather and in no condition to be out there anyway. He caused a massive Search and Rescue response and probably one of the first nails in the coffin of Scenic Hot Springs of old.

Snow Shoes: Heavy snow can start falling on Scenic with little notice because of the nature of the wind and cloud patterns funneling through Steven Pass nearby. At the height of winter, snowshoes are almost always needed for deep snow. Higher on the trail snowshoes give some added stability on the steepening slope that is often capped with six to eight feet of packed snow. If you buy . . . or rent snow shoes, consider alpine mountain snow shoes that allow easier stepping on inclines.

Added Traction: The slopes on the trail to Scenic get icy . . . especially in the early winter before heavy snows set in . . . and later on in the season when warming temperatures partial melt and then refreeze a surface layer. There is one short section of trail averaging 50 degs of slope. This section can become a literal ice chute in late winter/spring. Consider carry some form of added traction. Crampons are probably overkill . . . a cheap (and easy to don) pair of YakTrax are a surefire way to feel a little more secure on these steeper sections.

What to Wear and Pack

Needless to say, sneakers are not best choice in the cooling temperatures of autumn through winter. Get a good pair of hiking boots with deep, winter-style tread. Clothing should likewise reflect what weather expectations are going to be. Avoid cotton because cotton, when wet, saps body heat at a high rate.  Wool, by contrast, insulates even if wet.

Always keep in mind that weather can turn on a dime in the mountains. Dress in layers . . . you can always add or remove a sweater or windbreaker as necessary when the exertion levels of hiking or temperatures change. Wear a hat! 50% of our body heat is lost through the scalp.

The traditional Ten Essentials are:

1. Navigation: Map and compass.

2. Sun protection: Sunscreen, SPF lip balm and sunglasses.

3. Insulation: Enough clothes to keep you warm if you have to stay the night.

4. Illumination: Flashlight or headlamp, plus spare batteries and bulbs or a backup device.

5. First-aid supplies.

6. Fire: Two butane lighters or waterproof matches.

7. Repair kit and tools: Knife or multitool.

8. Nutrition: Food and emergency food in case you have to stay the night or longer.

9. Hydration: Two quarts of water for a day hike and a water purifier for long trips.

10. Emergency shelter: Tent, tarp, emergency blanket or even a trash bag.

The Winter Ten Essentials: These go beyond the traditional Ten Essentials recommended by the Forest Service. They do not take up that much more weight in your pack but if you are stranded overnight you will be glad you carried them.

1. Rain gear: Waterproof rain gear, including pants, really should be in your pack all year long, but especially in winter, not just to keep out moisture, but to block brutal winter winds, which can be shockingly cold in exposed conditions.

2. Dark sunglasses: Shades are important in summer, but they're actually more important in winter if you're traveling on snow or ice. Bring your darkest shades in winter when sunlight reflected off snow can be blinding, even on cloudy days.

3. Extra light: With so few hours of daylight available this time of year, you're far more likely to end up staying outside after dark. It can be surprisingly hard to see, especially at dusk, in the shadows of the mountains. Everyone in your party should have a flashlight or headlamp and backup devices, too, in case a battery or bulb dies in the cold. Illumination is part of the traditional 10 essentials, but it often gets left behind.

4. Snow shovel: You never know what lies beneath those serene mounds of snow. Streams, logs and other obstacles can easily hide and make what seems like flat ground quite unstable. One wrong step and you can posthole through the surface, even if you're wearing snowshoes. If you find yourself waist deep in water or snow a shovel is a far better tool than your bare hands for digging out.

Outfitters make a variety of small but effective backcountry shovels that are light and compact enough to fit inside a medium-sized backpack, such as a SnowClaw. In an emergency, you could use the shovel to make a shelter.

5. Sit pad: Sitting on a cold rock or icy snow can sap your warmth in minutes. Bring a lightweight foam sit pad, such as a ThermaRest Z seat so you have a soft, warm spot to sit during breaks . . . or as you pull on your shoes after soaking.

6. Hand warmers: You've heard stories of winter travelers losing fingers and toes to frost bite. Give yourself and edge with disposable hand warmers. If you get cold feet, opt for toe warmers that last six or more hours and stay put in your boots thanks to adhesive backing.

7. Extra socks: If you accidentally step into a creek and fill your boot with water, you can minimize the discomfort with a dry pair of wool socks. Wool, even when wet, can keep you warm, unlike cotton.

8. Extra hat and gloves: Both these items can become easily soaked in rain and sodden snow. Bring extras in zip-close bags just in case. Avoid cotton.

9. Thermos: Warm up from the inside out with an insulated container of hot cocoa, coffee or even soup for comfort and extra body heat. Carrie Strandell with the Everett Mountaineers recommends bringing a backpacking stove so you can make extra hot drinks or instant soup.

10. Good judgment: Sometimes the best winter essential you can have is the ability to turn back or not set out at all when conditions are not safe, said Everett Mountaineer Mike Mashock. Knowing the mountain weather is important when venturing out, he said.

Adapted from The Mountaineers

Hypothermia:  What Is It?

Okay . . . some boring stuff but stuff that really is important. 

Acclimatization to cold weather is a 'learned' response over time. The Inuit of the arctic have a markedly lower core body temperature to what we consider normal (95F to our 98.6F) and have tuned their basal metabolism and circulation to be as efficient as ours at this lower temperature. They can withstand cold temperature far more efficiently than us 'southerners' can.

The metabolic response to temperature changes is a complicated one. Simply stated, we, as warm-blooded beings, can only burn fuel (food) for cell energy within a narrow range of temperatures . . . the core body temperature. Our body will go to great biologic and physiological extremes to maintain that core body temperature. Understanding this metabolic response is important to knowing your limitations and the dangers hypothermia represent . . . especially to a hot spring soaker exposed to the elements. Acclimatization increases your metabolic efficiency and allows you to stay warm for longer periods of time. Remember, clothing does not warm your body . . . clothing simply reduces the loss of body heat. Any and all heat you experience (short of warming yourself by a fire or slipping into a hot spring pool) is generated by your metabolic processes burning the fuel (the food your eat) into energy. Know the signs of hypothermia and your limits: 

  • Your skin tightens upon exposure to cold; body hairs stand on end to more effectively trap an insulating layer of air next to the skin, 
  • Blood vessels initially dilate under the exposed skin surfaces, warming the skin and giving the rosy-cheeks syndrome. As more heat is lost, this process shuts down; 
  • Goosebumps form and tiny, consciously-controllable shivering may commence; 
  • The skin becomes a pasty white . . . chalky in later stages; blood supply to shell skin areas and extremities is reduced. Shivering becomes more intense as the body fights to maintain the inner core temperature of the internal organs and the brain. You are entering Stage 1 Hypothermia; 
  • Arterial shunting reduces blood flow to the extremities, leading to cramping and uncoordinated use of leg and arm muscles. Shivering becomes continuous, tiring and intense. You are in Stage 2 Hypothermia and need to preserve the remaining body warmth before you lose the ability to act; 
  • Violent, uncontrollable shivering ceases as the body preserves even this expenditure of scarce energy to keep the heart, lungs and brain warm and functional. You are disoriented to the point of not even being aware of the cold, tired and wanting to sit down and sleep. You are in Stage 3 Hypothermia and in a medical emergency. Your body is losing it's ability to produce heat and will slip rapidly into a fatal coma. 

Know the signs and progression of impending hypothermia. Shivering when cold is normal . . . violent shivering that is impairing and beyond your control is a serious warning sign that you've passed your limits.

We mention hypothermia because it does happen.  A potentially serious situation occurred a few years back just after the current owner took over Scenic. Mike and Matt were on their way up to the springs to evaluate options when they came across a young boy dragging his incapacitated father back down the mountainside. They got them into the owners' truck and down to safety.

After warming up, the story of these intrepid trespassers came out. They had gone up the night before and set about a long soak in the pools. While there nightfall arrived.  It started snowing again . . . and soon, the return path back was completely hidden. They went back to the springs and got back in to stay warm. In the morning they made an attempt to hike out. Unfortunately, their clothes (cotton, by the way) were frozen solid with snow and ice. Partway down the mountainside the father collapsed. Mike and Matt found them and they survived. But it could have been bad.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Heavy Rains, Lower Pool Temps in Lobster Pot

The recent heavy rains have affected the Lobster Pot hot spring source and that pool has gone cold while ground water runoff mixes with those sources.

The other pool is fed by a different set of sources and is resistant to such changes.

These changes require us to limit the number of visitors to no more that six per day.

Once the heavy rains stop . . . or the snow level drops to lock up ground water, the Lobster Pot sources will recover quickly.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Winter Storm Watch

242 PM PDT FRI OCT 30 2015

242 PM PDT FRI OCT 30 2015








Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Clean Up Event this Saturday

Last chance to sign up scenichotsprings at gmail dot com  You must RSVP if you want to join in . . . no gate-crashers!

Saturday starting at 11 am, we will escort cars through the gate to more safely park further in under observation.

You can participate Saturday, Sunday, or both days.  Get your camping gear and camp near the springs, enjoy a warm, toasty campfire (complete with s'mores) and soak under the magical stars.

We plan on feeding you . . . cheeseburgers and snacks for Saturday's meal . . . eggs, sausages, potatoes for Sunday breakfast.  Bring a snack item to share ...

Okay, you get to soak, camp, and enjoy like-minded hot spring lovers.  What's the catch?

Well . . . we want to clear culverts to prevent the inevitable snow melt runoff in the spring . . . we want to clear back vegetation now before it gets out of hand in the spring.  Nothing arduous (unless we find another tree down on the road).  What we need is:

  • Trimmers, clippers, gas brush cutters

  • Azes, picks, shovels for those culverts

  • A chainsaw or two

So . . . are you up to giving Scenic Hot Springs some TLC?

Friday, October 02, 2015

Avoiding Car Break-ins

Although law enforcement and Forest Service rangers do patrol for trailhead crime, there are simply too many trailheads in the Olympics and Cascades to cover effectively.  The best way to prevent trailhead crime is to be aware at the trailhead and eliminate potential for pay off. Some recommendations:

  • Strip your car clean before heading to the trailhead. If you don’t have this option, hide everything in your trunk or out-of sight before arriving at the trailhead.
  • When you arrive at the trailhead, be leery of any stranger who engages you in friendly conversation. If this is unavoidable, follow your gut instinct. If the encounter seemed out-of-place, hang around the trailhead and observe, or start your hike, then come back in a few minutes to check.

  • Although you should always be cautious, if you see someone out-of-place at a trailhead, take their picture, preferably with their license plate together. I have done this twice, and both times it sparked an angry response which just further confirmed my belief. Remember to be defensive and keep yourself safe first, if you choose to do this.
  • Never hide wallets, purses, or expensive electronics in your car. Take them with you. Take no chances with these valuables.
  • If you witness a car prowler in progress, do not approach them. This can quickly become a dangerous situation. Instead, observe the crime from a safe distance gathering all the information, and pictures, as possible.
  • If you are an avid hiker, consider getting a trailhead car. Any old beater makes a great trailhead car—the more worthless, the better. Strip it clean and leave the doors unlocked without worry. Take your oldest, beat-up vehicle to leave at the parking area. Or get a ride to and from the trailhead (better to pay someone for the ride then to pay lots of money for a broken window or lose money to stolen items). 

  • Another option is to look for alternative parking near to the trail and get a ride up or walk to the trailhead.   The BNSF staging area near Scenic parking, for example. 
  • Consider leaving the car unlocked to avoid windows being broken (though most safety sites advocate locking it). But with that said, if you do choose to leave it unlocked, leave NOTHING valuable in the car! Take ALL ID, loose change (conceal change under a rock at the trailhead if you forget to take it out at home), and take wallet, cell phone, IPOD, etc with you. Better yet, leave everything at home you can't carry with you in your backpack or day pack. Locking items in the trunk doesn't mean the thieves can't force the trunk open or break a window to get at it. 
  • Leave some unsavory items on the seat and / or back window to discourage thieves. Underwear. Dirty socks. Grungy clothes, etc.
  • Always report car break-ins to the police whether you plan to make an insurance claim or not. It helps them pinpoint crime patterns and unsecure trailheads.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Scenic Hot Springs Clean Up Event Oct 17-18th, 2015

Though Scenic is private the springs rely on its' friends and volunteers to help keep the property clean and maintained for the enjoyment of lovers of hot springs.  The stewards now invite you to join us for one last clean up event before winter snows set in.

  • We will review and clear any culverts that in our opinion might lead to blowouts and damage to the BPA road surface and Scenic trail during the eventual spring melt.
  • Our hot summer and recent mountain rains have encouraged an explosion of vegetation growth both on the BPA road and alongside the trail on up to the springs.
This event will start on Saturday, October 17th around 11am and run through till the afternoon of Sunday, October 18th, 2015.  One party of two is already allowed but we will take no more requests on this weekend.  We do ask that if you plan to participate that you RSVP ahead of time as this affects our planning (including food to have on hand).  Unannounced visitors will probably be turned away as we do not know their intentions (freeloaders or trespassers caught or honest . . . talk to us).
Overnight soaking and camping as always for participants (let us know one day or both days).  Winter is setting in . . . mid October is when we see our first dusting of snow so come dressed appropriately in layers and always think . . . wet weather (have an emergency poncho in you pocket).  But lets pray for nice weather.
We need:
  • Shovels, azes, picks to work the cuts and culverts
  • Weed whackers, loppers, etc to clear vegetation
Lastly, why don't you bring something to share . . . veggie trays, fruits, cheese . . . get creative.

This event will be hosted by Matt and I will attempt to be there at my beloved hot springs.  More to come later.      Rick

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

No Fires . . . No Fireworks

Scenic Hot Springs is in a fire-restricted area, surrounded on all four sides by National Forest and Wilderness lands.  The making of fires and/or the lighting off of fireworks is strictly prohibited on the hot springs property.

The Forest Service has raised the Fire Danger to HIGH this coming weekend.  Temperatures are forecast to set records along with a lot of tinder-dry vegetation.  We remind everyone of the prohibition on building fires at Scenic . . . we must also emphasize that fireworks are also prohibited.

The same rules that apply to federal lands also apply to Scenic.  If you are found with fireworks up at Scenic then you carried them across National Forest lands.  That is a federal offense.  Caught making fires or with fireworks up at Scenic and you will face county ordinance violations at the least and possibly Federal charges.

Keep our forests green and living.  Don't be the one starting wildfires at this dangerous time of year.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Scenic Cleanup Event May 23-24th

Update:  The cleanup event is still on for May 23-24th.  There is still time to add your name to the list and give Scenic Hot Springs and its' environs some TLC (Tender Loving Care). 

For those of you already gearing up for some great times (camping, soaking under the stars, great food) more info is coming to your inboxes.  We look forward to meeting all of you.  Rick 

Put it on your calendars . . . the first volunteer clean-up event of the year.

When:  May 23rd (Saturday) through May 24th (Sunday)

Agenda:  Erosion control on the access road, culvert clean-out, and general litter pick-up

This past winter season saw an extraordinary amount amount of water runoff on the BPA road leading up to the springs.  Deep ruts in the road surface resulted and will only get worse unless run-off patterns are redirected off the road surface.  What we'd like to accomplish is to fill in the worst of these eroded areas and clear out the culverts that overflowed onto the road.

The erosion control is Saturday and Sunday.  These events are one of the few times we allow night-time soaking (for the volunteers) as well as camping on-site if you choose to participate both days.  We generally plan on a BBQ for volunteers.

We are hoping for a large turn-out this first event of 2015.  Contact us at scenichotsprings at gmail dot com.

Let us know that you are planning on attending, which days, and whether you would like to camp overnight.


  • Shovels, lots of them to help fill these ruts,
  • Garden-type picks 
  • Good-pair of work gloves
  • Wheelbarrows would come in handy
More planning as we get closer ...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Advance Notice on Requests

A trend happens sometimes during particularly popular days where a request ends up holding back other requests while we attempt to confirm the first request.  We always attempt to hold a pending reservation for as long as possible but sometimes . . . often . . . these uncommitted requests end up blocking later requests from people who are ready to 'commit'.  Two days advance notice on a couple is fine . . . but a group of 6,7,8,9 etc filling all potential spots but not committing, is ruining it for everyone else.

Therefore, to deter ‘sitting’ on potential reservations to the last moment (and possibly dropping the request), the following policy applies: 

“Confirmation lead-time is dependent on the number of visitors requesting access. We will backtrack that number of  days for a deadline to either confirm or release a reservation so that others may visit  (i.e., 4 visitors on request; that request needs to be confirmed NLT four days before the planned visit).”


Friday, February 06, 2015

Some Updates on Scenic

Not much snow in the mountains . . .  some definite challenges.

Warm weather and rain keep delaying the recovery of the Lobster Pot springs and pool.  At last report, Lobster was climbing near body temperature.

Bear Den, the other spring source and pool, is highly resistant to ground water melt and rain.  It is holding a toasty 104F.

This is the access road leading to the gate and the route up to the hot springs.  Normally, at this time of year there is a six-foot tall snow plow berm across the entrance.  Now there is hardly any obstacle . . . except that extremely slippery thick sheet of ice right at the busy highway entrance.  It is possible to drive up to the gate (without blocking the gate) but the trip back down is going to be dicey with chances of skidding right into traffic on the highway.  Stick to the alternate parking for right now (that is, if you have permission).  Update:  Even that ice is now gone (2-9-2015)

Rock Alley, about halfway up the trail.  This time of year it should be completely plugged with Cascade Concrete (the wet and heavy snow that makes for impassable bars to progress).

The upper bench on approx level with the hot springs.  This is just after making the one switchback on the trail . . . and about 500 feet from the pools.  The record snow height was in '96 with just under twenty feet of snow on this upper bench.  Intrepid visitors would eventually carve tunnel-like paths with their snow shoes to the hot springs.  No snow right now and that is worrying: the snow-pack is our water supply and it is only about 40% of normal.  Expect some serious drought problems this summer . . . and dangerous fire conditions.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Timely Requests for Access

In the Conditions of Access (the link is also in the sidebar) we request at least two days advance notice to respond to, check on current reservations, activities and conditions, and answer your request.  We also request that those desiring access to Scenic, follow up the initial request (and follow-on correspondence) in a timely manner.  We hold a "Reservation Pending" for as long as possible . . . waiting for the requester to complete these Conditions of Access . . . meanwhile, others are denied access due to these pending reservations.  And when they never follow-through, no one gets a chance to enjoy the hot springs that day.

So, effective immediately, if you request a reservation and do not complete the process within two days of your requested reservation, then we reserve the right to cancel your request and offer the spots to others.  Update:  A new policy is now in effect requiring follow-through earlier in some case.  See the post here:

In correspondence with us, please make the subject line appropriate to the request (i.e. Michael's, Request for Access Sat. Jul 3rd 2015).  We get hundreds of emails each month and we must match different threads up with the appropriate request.

Do not start a new request using an email for an earlier visit.  This just confuses us as to what date you are looking for.  If we have given you a 'Rain Check', please save that email and reply to that to reschedule.

Some people make requests far into the future.  Please consider that we cannot vet what conditions will be like weeks or months into the future.  As the date for you trip approaches, consider emailing or contacting us for an update on the springs and to finalize access.

A real-time calendar (same data as the one in the sidebar) is below to help you choose dates.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Visitor Conduct and a Canceled No Nude Day

Update:  The original post was on the 9th.  This is an update.  The total lack of requests or interest in a No Nudity Day at the hot springs means that a no naked person day at the hot springs is a non-gainer.  This experiment is cancelled and Scenic Hot Springs will REMAIN 100% CLOTHING-OPTIONAL AT ALL TIMES AND DAYS.  If you cannot deal with nudity then do not make reservations at the hot springs.  If you disrupt or make it uncomfortable for other visitors to enjoy the hot springs, then you will be banned from the springs in the future.

A great deal of effort went into the Conditions of Access as visitors are required to understand and agree to them before any access is granted to Scenic Hot Springs.  Most of the "conditions" are there because of requirements by the authorities for continued access; for example:  no night time soaking or the limiting of daily use.

Other conditions address the owner's rules for permission to be on his property.  As the owner, he has the right to protect and control his property . . . so the no fires or dogs on property.

Then there are the cultural aspects of usage which dictate behavior while on the property.  The owner and his representatives reserve the right to refuse usage or access to those individuals who disrupt or 'ruin' the experience of other visitors.  Examples would be the playing of loud music or the consumption of too much alcohol at the springs.

Personally, I now understand the feelings of non-smokers being forced to  be in the vicinity of a smoker.  Please do not smoke (or light up a pipe of good stuff) before asking everyone present if it would be okay.  As a cancer patient I am extremely sensitive to tobacco smoke.  To me, it is an assault.  Think of others or risk being banned.

Nudity is traditional at most natural hot springs (and certainly at Scenic Hot Springs.)  If you have a problem with nudity please do not go requesting access to Scenic Hot Springs.  If you make it uncomfortable for other visitors who choose to soak the traditional way, sans clothing, then we will use all the information you provided to make your own reservation to ban your future access to Scenic Hot Springs.

Now, for those of you who are 'clothes-minded' . . . and can't bear to see another individual naked, for a limited experiment we will RESERVE THURSDAYS ONLY FOR THOSE WHO DON'T WANT TO SEE NAKED SOAKERS.  The calendar will be marked as "No Nudity Day"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Limited Access to the Hot Springs

Seems this unseasonably warm weather refuses to step back and let winter and snow into the picture.  Large amounts of cold ground water continues to mix with the sources to the Lobster Pot Springs . . . resulting in one of the pools going cold.

Fortunately, the other spring is resistant to groundwater-mixing, and remains at a nice and toasty soaking temperature.  The upshot is that only one pool is usable and we have to limit usage for everybody's best enjoyment.

Related . . . warm days and freezing nights are a recipe for treacherous hiking conditions.  Most of the hike up to Scenic is steep and now we have very slick ice conditions that are far more slippery than snow.  Some form of extra traction is necessary . . . Trax, crampons, even snowshoes for the cleats on the ice.

Snow is so much easier to travel over.  Does anyone know a snow-dance?   :-)

Friday, January 02, 2015

Scenic in the Snow

One of our visitors (Jeremy) provided a great picture of the hot springs yesterday . . . and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Want to know what Scenic conditions are?  Enjoy this pic for an idea.

Scenic on the afternoon of New Years Eve.  Photo credit to Jeremy
The pool on the left is the Bear Den pool, fed from a source beneath a large boulder behind the visitor (Ryan).  The Bear Den sources are very stable year-round and this pool is holding a nice a toasty 102-104F.

The pool on the right is the Lobster Pot pool and is fed from sources to the far right of the picture.  These sources run shallow and are very susceptible to rain-water and snow-melt mixing.  This pool normally runs two to four degrees higher that  Bear Den.  As of a few days ago, Lobster Pot was reported to be slowly recovering but not yet there.  Given a week or so of cold weather, Lobster Pot will hold it own.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Unusual Wet and Warm Weather

At this time of year we should be getting snow instead of the torrents of rains and warm weather.  And that presents some problems for soaking up at Scenic Hot Springs.  The normally hottest pool . . . fed by the Lobster Pot springs . . . is very sensitive to heavy rain downpours that saturate the groundwater and dilute these shallow-running feeds.  Thus the Lobster Pot pool run cold at a time when it should be hot and toasty.

The second feed, filling the other pool, is almost impervious to ground water (this feed is more protected and does not travel shallow).  So the Bear Den pool stays hot throughout this rains.

If you are thinking about a request to go to Scenic (or have already requested one) please take these unusual wet and warm conditions into mind.  One pool may be unsoakable, limiting the number of people we can permit.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wintery Weather is coming . . .

Well, the snow is coming upon us.  There is a Winter Weather Advisory in effect tonight . . . 4-5 inches of snow in the Stevens Pass area.  So we want to take a moment to remind everyone planning on going into the back-country of the Cascades to go prepared.

Layered, water-resistant clothing, good boots, Trax, cleats or crampons for traction of steep icy trails, snowshoes (not needed yet, but will be soon) for the deep snow up to Scenic.  Carry the essentials including several ways to start an emergency survival fire.  Make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you plan to be back.

As the snows begin to stick and build up on Hwy 2, you will soon not be able to park at the gate and must go to the winter parking areas.  This means a short hike up the shoulders of the highway.  Please wear something highly reflective and be extremely careful.

Scenic has no known avalanche chutes . . . the slopes are heavily forested and not steep enough.  If you stick to the trail you will be fine.  Areas of concern are the cleared and steep slope of the BPA clearcut below the access road.  Stay on the road. Please don't give in to the temptation to ski or slide down the open slopes below the road.

One other area of concern is the last five hundred feet of the trail that is very steep and typically turns into an icy chute later in the season.  Have traction devices ready for use if necessary.

Please remember that the sun goes down early in winter.  Don't get trapped in trying to get down in the dark.  Soak responsibly, limit alcohol and stay sharp, recognize heat and cold-associated dangers and protect yourself and your fellow soakers.  Above all, enjoy the magic of a wintery hot spring soak.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Successful Clean Up Event

Eight of us made last Saturdays' 'work party' and accomplished the goals we needed.

There was a large boulder overlooking the soaking pools that had made . . . well, at least Matt and myself . . . nervous for some time. The boulder was large . . . the boulder sat on a steep slope no more than a dozen feet above and away from the pool . . . and . . . it just made us nervous. Obviously it scared a few other as attempts had been made to secure its' position on the slope. We felt that that boulder wasn't going to stay put one more season . . . it was time to move it out of the way. Little did we know just how unstable that boulder was until we started the probing prior to removal. The boulder was loose and movable just to the weight of a volunteer. 

A tree volunteered to become a rail to guide the boulder downhill instead of into the pools. Once that was in place it took all of us with rock bars and shovels to urge the boulder loose of its' perch. Looked good except it caught up in two trees just below the pools and would have eventually broken loose and gone on down out of control. So we had to winch the boulder back uphill and out of that clutch of trees to roll down a pre-defined course and a safer resting place far below. 

If the video does not load you can also view it here:

Afterward, we soaked . . . checked out the trail of wrath by a four tons boulder . . . and enjoyed grilling burgers down below.  A very successful event ....

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clean Up Party this Saturday

For those who missed it or didn't get on the list as a volunteer . . . this seasons first clean-up party at Scenic Hot Springs is happening this coming Saturday.  It is not too late to get involved, help out Scenic . . . and enjoy some rare camping and night-time soaking at Scenic Hot Springs.

For those that would like to camp and soak under the night-time sky, join us Friday night around 7pm at the gate and we'll head in, set up camp and learn the ancient secrets to making smores by the campfire between luxurious relaxation in the hot spring pools.  Bet you never realized just how many stars there are up there!

Only can get free Saturday and want to help?  We'll be meeting people at the gate around 10-11am and get started on the day's activities (after a mandatory safety briefing).

After the work is done it is time to get in that pool and soak away any sore muscles for giving us your best efforts Smiley   We will probably have a tailgate burger grill before we end the day with much thanks from us.

So give us a holler if you would like to participate.  No late, uninvited shows at the gate.  This is by invitation only.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Clean Up Event August 23rd, 2014 (Please note the change of date)

Correction:  Due to other obligations we have change this event to the following weekend, Saturday, August 23rd, 2014.

We will be having a clean-up event at Scenic Hot Springs this coming August 16th (a Saturday) to August 23rd, 2014 (also a Saturday).  This event will be physical as we will be moving some objects.

As always, participants are welcome to come the Friday night before for an opportunity to camp at Scenic and enjoy a rare opportunity to soak at night.  The following day we will block off the trails during the actual work up above.

All Scenic Clean Up Events are clothing-optional so enjoy it au'natural if you want . . . only let common sense prevail . . . gloves and good boots are important  :-)

Matt will run this event and I may or may not be recovered enough to come.  In either case, lets get a good turn out.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Scenic Conditions and an Update

Scenic Hot Springs is still recovering from the late-spring snowmelt that affects one of the two pools . . . the Lobster Pot.  The two pools at Scenic are fed from separate hot springs feeds.  The three feeds that come into the Lobster Pot (normally the hotter springs) are affected by snowmelt and the accompanying shallow ground water that drops the pool temperatures unacceptably low.  The Lobster Pot feeds normally recover to full temperatures in late May.

The other pool (Bear Den) is fed from different springs sources that are not as affected by snowmelt.  This sources remain hot throughout the year.  So for the next few weeks more only this pool is available for reservations.  We limited the daily usage to keep up the quality of the water and experiences of the users.

On another note, I reported on this blog last month on my health conditions and some readers have taken this to mean 1) that I am the owner or 2) that the springs are closed.
  1. I am not the owner of Scenic Hot Springs.  Along with Matt (who usually answers reservation requests) we are the legal stewards for Scenic Hot Springs at the owners request.
  2. The hot springs are not closed . . . for the moment, access is limited due to the snowmelt but we still will process reservations.
As for my health, I am in the middle of chemotherapy and soon onto radiation to treat my cancer.  But I am still involved with Scenic so expect me up there.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Thank you for the Good Thoughts

My return journey into that 'wonderful' world of chemotherapy (and later, radiation) is underway again.  This is a secondary cancer . . . aggressive and fast-moving.  I feel that I am at the top of the ski slope looking down and that slope gets slippery and treacherous very quickly.  But down it I must go.

I have the desire . . . but I wish I had the energy ... to get back up to Scenic and soak in the soothing, healing pools of the springs.  Scenic is so special ...

However, Scenic is for good thoughts.  If God, wishes, I will make it up to Scenic sometime soon.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Calendar Updates . . . .

By now many of you will have noticed the lack of updates to the reservation calendar in the sidebar.  For that, I apologize for you see, I'm back in the hospital undergoing another series of chemo and possibly radiation.  However, I have tolerated the first new round okay and the doctors are very optimistic . . . so I expect and plan of getting back in shape soon and helping to take care of the hot springs.  Now that the initial syndrome that got me back into the hospital is reduced and future chemo is out-patient I will be trying very hard to keep this blog and the calendar up to date.


Monday, December 23, 2013

Update on Repairs

Well . . . temporary repairs are in place and seem to be holding.  Damage to the lining is a difficult and time-intensive repair to do.  We elected a temp fix to get the springs up and running once more.

Bear Den damage
 The image above shows where these vandals ripped the entire length of the seam in the Bear Den pool.  As you can guess . . . the pool was incapable of holding water for long.  Fortunately, Lobster Pot was not touched . . . perhaps because these same vandals had already damaged the Lobster Pot feeds so that that pool was full of only ice-cold water (I have to guess the creeps didn't want to immerse themselves in that cold water just to rip up the Lobster Pot side).  Both pools out of order ...

Temp Repairs
Repairs have cost several hundred already.  Come spring and the snow-melt we will have to make the repairs more permanent (liners and repairs to the spring sources).  For now, temp fixes have made both pools fully functional.  There is plenty of invigorating hot spring water coming into both pools for a nice, comfortable soak.

We are considering requests on a limited basis for the rest of the winter season.  Winter is the best time to visit Scenic . . . but Scenic is a fragile place and we must protect it from overuse.  We will also be stepping up our campaign to stop this useless trespassing and vandalism.  Thanks to all of those who are now stepping up to the plate and helping out.  Rick and Matt

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Scenic Hot Springs is closed until further notice

Due to some serious vandalism and trespassing, the springs sources and pools have been damaged and we deem any further requests inappropriate at this time.  We will not be accepting, considering or approving any visits to Scenic Hot Springs for the immediate future . . . until we have had a chance to assess the damage and make repairs.

ANYONE FOUND UP AT SCENIC HOT SPRINGS AT THIS TIME will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!!!!!!  We will be contacting those with current reservations to determine whether they can continue or need to reschedule.

It is a sorry state of affairs when a few worthless individuals can ruin such a beautiful place and force us to take these steps.  We ask that those previous volunteers who are interested in helping us keep an eye on the springs (particularly during the night hours) give us a helping hand.  We need to catch these mal-contents in the act of illegally heading up . . . and then have them arrested.  Any interest?  Matt and myself can only stretch so far.  Contact us directly at


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snow Conditions at the Hot Springs

At this time the road to the gate is no longer accessible due to snow. Snowplows have begun building a snow berm along Hwy. 2, and there is about a foot of snow at the gate. There was a bit over two feet of snow at the springs.   Winter parking is the alternate parking site given when permission is granted.  This adds an extra 1/2 mile to the hike (2 miles with 1,300 ft of elevation gain).

Snowshoes or some other form of traction . . . i.e., trax or crampons . . . are a good idea.  Visits are by permission in advance.  See the calendar located in the sidebar for an idea of the current reservation status.  We limit the number of visitors each day to provide a better all around experience.  If you do not have advance permission you will be asked to leave.

As always, go prepared for the elements.  Scenic is a hiker's wilderness hot spring.  The hike is is arduous (especially in winter).  Wear appropriate winter clothing (practice layering and avoid cotton).  Carry the ten essentials of winter survival and especially several different ways of starting a fire in a survival situation.  Scenic has no known avalanche chutes but snow can get very deep and energy-sapping to brute-plow through at the height of winter or when a sudden winter storm blows through nearby Stevens Pass.

Carry energy bars, have plenty of water, carry a large plastic trash bag to keep your belongings dry while you soak . . . and don't forget a towel.  The trick to getting out of the hot springs and into freezing weather is to do it in steps.  Dry of the upper torso while standing waist-deep . . . pull on a top to conserve your core body heat, step higher and dry the lower torso . . . and finally dry the feet.  Get the socks on soon as cold feet stay that way forever :-)

One last hint . . . carry some form of lighting (flashlight, headlamp) as darkness descends on the mountains earlier and rather quickly.  Night soaking at Scenic is not allowed.  Please be off the mountainside before darkness descends.  And again, request permission . . . don't be a trespasser whom we may be forced to have cited or arrested.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Request Permission

We've received a number of requests for access recently by way of anonymous comments to the blog . . . no email, no other contact information.  Ummm, how are we supposed to get back to you?

Even worse, you post a comment and lay out your name and telephone number, compromising your privacy.  I have little choice but to delete the comment just to stopgap the flood of spam telephone calls you are going to get by putting your personal information out there for everyone to see.  Posting a comment to this blog is not the way to request permission . . .

There  are instructions in the sidebar of this blog.  Essentially, we need at least two days advance notice for the back and forth acceptance of our Conditions of Access which lay out the rules and your acceptance of them.  Follow the instructions and email a request in plenty of time to process it.

There is also a "Call Me" button in the sidebar.  Do not call to ask for reservations as we are unlikely to have the current state of reservations in front of us.  Use this feature to ask general questions before deciding whether you want to continue with a request.

There is a calendar in the sidebar that gives you some idea of the present state of reservations.  The number of visitors we allow each day is dependent of conditions but generally lays within the range of 10-12.  Keep this in mind when you make a request.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Scenic is Clothing-Optional

It has been awhile since the Scenic blog was last updated.  Part of the reason for that is because of other obligations but we also have to note that use and access is going very well and there are few problems that can be effectively addressed on the blog.  There is, however, one problem needs to be addressed:

Scenic Hot Springs is Clothing-Optional.  You are not required to wear clothing . . . nor are you required to be nude.  It is optional and no one has the right to badger, coerce or force you otherwise.  When you request permission to visit Scenic, you are required to read and agree to the Conditions of Access (in the sidebar) prior to permission being granted.  One of those conditions is acknowledgement that you may (probably will) experience nudity on the site.  If you cannot deal with nudity then I suggest you do not request permission to visit Scenic.  Rent(or buy) a hot tub and soak in your preferred way in your own backyard.  Do not impose your conservatism or cultural values on those who simply wish to enjoy a serene, natural soak amongst the beauty of Scenic.  Stay home instead.

Soaking, sans clothing, is the traditional way of enjoying natural hot springs.  There are a lot of therapeutic benefits in this tradition and we will maintain the freedom of visitors to enjoy the springs this way.  Do not assume that you can arrive and badger any other permitted visitors to put on clothing or leave so that you will not experience nudity.  They have every right to be where they are as long as they abide by the Conditions of Access.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scenic Cleanup this Saturday

Coming up . . .

Only those who RSVP for overnighting with the intention of participating in the Saturday clean-up will be allowed on the property Friday afternoon.  Those participants indicating a wish to camp overnight will be welcome anytime after 4pm on Friday.  Please contact me personally to make arrangements to drive past the gate to the property ( or (206) 569-4512)

For those participating only in the clean-up  during the day on Saturday, we will meet you at the gate between 10am and 11am to sign you in and let you drive in to the clearcut.  Participants will receive credit toward volunteer status (four times and you get to visit as you like when their is room during the following year).

If you have not RSVP'd for either Friday-Saturday or Saturday, there is still an opportunity to help out if you arrive by our sign-in time and join in the efforts to clean-up Scenic from the winter neglect.  Check with Rick or Matt.

Everyone will be required to sign a Liability Release and there will be a mandatory safety briefing before any work begins.  Bring work gloves if you have them . . . I will have a number available also.  Need shovels, picks, loppers, brush cutters to clear brush and vegetation.  An extra weed whacker (gas powered) would come in handy.  Need a chainsaw to deal with a couple of troublesome trees.

We will be bringing burger-makings, and such . . . large BBQ grill for all to use.  We will also supply bottled water . . . please keep yourself hydrated.  Ideas for foods to share?  Smores and hot chocolate (fortified?) are definitely on the list around the campfire during the Friday night soaktime . . . followed by sleeping under the stars in the mountains.

  • Litter removal along the roads and trail
  • Moving of demolition debris lower down on the trail for disposal
  • Vegetation clearing, some necessary tree trimming
  • Erosion control and trail improvement
Friday night should be fair for camping but it does get a little cool in the mountains at night.  Sleeping bag with a pad at least; lightweight tent or mosquito- netting.  Keep it light . . . it's a thousand feet up to the springs.

Saturday is supposed to be a great, sunny day.  Sunscreen for sure or work on your tan lines.  You are welcome to enjoy it clothing-optional with the exception that those operating power-tools must wear protective gear (i.e., eye protection, at the least).