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News & Op-Eds, continued

For vintage article on new ownership, scroll down past end of editorial

Body acceptance

and body freedom issues brought to

fore with banning clothing-optional

(click here for beginning of editorial)


As a result of inappropriate 'ownership' changes of Stewart Mineral springs operation that included forbidding mindful nudity in course of spa visit, the health and free-minded lifestyles of untold hundreds of locals and regionals -- thousands more on the national and global level -- have been seriously compromised.


Many repeat visitors from far beyond area and overseas, some only familiar with Stewart's --  over time, website's been viewed by Chinese, Czechs, Spaniards, Japanese, Canadians, Russians, Germans, British and French -- were no doubt also stunned, thinking they'd nowhere to go to enjoy accustomed bohemian Euro-style spa resort experience while touring U.S.'s West Coast. (Harbin re-opened, but some had always preferred Stewart's more intimate scale, setting and lack of former's Bay-Area influenced, sometimes bold and lascivious air.


Of course, permitted body freedom was only one component of the Stewart Springs experience. But it was a vital one, the linchpin that for all open-minded and free-spirited visitors could enhance all others -- place's spectacular depth in nature, rare vortex energy, and historic rustic ambiance -- to profound, almost supernatural level.

Some (like writer) at first gave them benefit of the doubt, thinking new absentee stewards (?) were not intentionally trying to alienate customer base, but were simply unaware how such an action would create a firestorm of adverse reaction from a sea of former faithfuls.  During dubious course of management, doggedly intent trying to convert place to suit their super-structured, buttoned-down, quasi-new-age shtick, thinking might've been that being in seller's market business would naturally continue to thrive by tapping boundless mainstream/upscale market and grow despite -- or even because of -- radical shift in operation...which, after all, was possibly to their way of thinking only upsetting a few low-spending, local kinky malcontents that they didn't really want as patrons in the first place.

If more upscale or mainstream client base never manifests -- as seems dicey, given current global crisis and probable long aftermath (and esp. now since decision to end spa service) -- new owners would find

selves between a rock and hard place. They'd have gotten rid place of once-loyal bohemian support base but not attracted enough more mainstream or upscale..maybe not even enough gung-ho on Pneuma's convoluted formula for achieving enlightenment through long pricey workshops, retreats, and two-year certification programs.


And even if they DID gain viable traction at some distant new-reality date despite shuttering bathhouse and closing down historic heart and soul of place, one salient fact would forever dog outfit: any new customer base -- or exclusive private use, even -- built on the willful destruction of long-established, free-spirited culture would forever brand outfit as a spirit-crushing, rank commercial sell-out, a shocking betrayal of rare spirit of the place...more than a tad self-defeating to any purported overarching aim of theirs in focusing on raising global consciousness. 

Ownership's board of directors reportedly had even wanted to make c/o policy change a half year sooner, in summer of 2016. According to outgoing manager (veracity at times bit suspect), they were persuaded to hold off until November. If true, maybe it was only in consideration of long-standing bookings made before 'owner' change, wanting to avoid massive cancellations and livid bohemian-minded bookers who'd show up unaware of drastic policy change.


Maybe, too, thinking was there might be a riot if day visitors long accustomed to nudity option one sultry 90-degree day were abruptly told, "Sorry, but you've gotta cover up now. No more nudity. Please understand and cooperate with us. Tell your friends!"

Yeah, that would've worked. 


Easier to spring it when too cold for going bare outdoors for any but bravehearts making accustomed heroic icy plunge in 30 degree F. creek.

 

They reportedly couldn't be persuaded to allow even one clothing-optional day a week to accommodate legion of more freespirited, those long-term fans -- local, national, and international -- who had long supported and revered place and definitely preferred enjoying it au natural or were at least totally okay with it so long as behavior was chill.

Again, new policy was supposedly triggered over shock of doubtful story of some visitor playing with self on deck in 2016. On off-chance that it actually was true, outgoing manager no doubt saw a golden opportunity to sound red alert to new absentee owners, prompting fast draconian ban. An alternate explanation circulating among staff was that new ownership group itself -- or wives -- who had frequented place for retreats over the years, had been put off by place's limited, lowkey nudity. And so maybe manager had fabricated the story out of whole cloth on the fly

just to make getting rid of the naked people an easy, absolute slam dunk.


However it came down, it's truly sad...and more than a tad ironic in light of Pneuma's transpersonal psychology branch having historic roots in human potential movement that had included wildly successful guided nude group-therapy workshops in the late 1960s, held in such places as Esalan at Big Sur, CA (made a feature story in Life magazine).

Getting renewed in

the nude eschewed

Stewart Springs had a  history of flip-flopping on the policy over the decades. Verboten until Goodpastures took the helm in the 1970s, it was again banned during the first half of Foggy's ownership in 1980s and 1990s except for the option of a brief, chaste nude dip in water with immediate covering on emerging.

Then body-oppressive mandatory cover-up policy magically vanished in 2000...almost as if to celebrate the new millennium with a new-found enlightened transparency and boldness of spirit -- see When Body Freedom Returned to Stewart Springs -- and wouldn't make its unwelcome reappearance again until late 2016.

It had allowed nudity in the sauna, outer deck and creek's cold plunge area, while requiring covering in halls, lobby, and front sundeck. It was a compromise, hammered out to try accommodating everyone's lifestyle as best possible. Though at times unwieldy, it worked, more-or-less, making place more inclusive of varied visitor backgrounds and, many would agree, the place became a far more healing, consciousness-lifting, and rejuvenating resort for it. see History

To bare or not to bare...

Granted, c/o or not c/o is ticklish call for any rural mineral springs resort.

Does one provide place where people in a perma-dressed world have the rare option to at last get free of unnecessary coverings in natural sheltered environment and enjoy enhanced state of being among kindred spirits, while more effectively cleansing and purifying, in process regaining/reinforcing

positive body acceptance of toddlers thought forever lost? But at the risk of such radical departure from deep-entrenched social norms potentially causing unsavory scenes and misbehavior if not keeping judicious and forthright handle on it?


Or does one try to avoid ever causing discomfort by the many, those either in seeming denial of human biologic reality, or who simply prefer to keep covered out of modesty and/or to avoid unwanted attention, and insist it's not unreasonable to demand that EVERYONE keep covered -- even during much of spa regimen, even in bohemian stronghold of northern California out in middle of gentle nature on exotic 90 degree days begging to be enjoyed with skinnydipping and nude sunbathing?

It can be a thorny call either way, if not handled sensitively and mindfully.

If opting for latter and banning nudity, obviously ignored is the extreme discomfort it causes would-be freebodies far more sensorily in tune with bodies than  the numbed-out perma-dressed and foot-shod... suddenly forced to keep wrapped up in constrictive, man-made, sensory dampening cloth, which prevents any fuller

attunement to natural elements, thereby expediting and enhancing spa's regimen's purification and rejuvenation potential.


Of course, as a result Stewart Springs was on one level neither fish nor fowl. Though it was c/o many years, it never became a full-fledged c/o resort that joined others in the regional sisterhood of rural springs. This was at least in part due to lack of any planned freebody zone, as place had long tradition of perma-wrapped mindset, clothed visitors and workers walking by tubrooms and into sauna and out onto deck, and often clueless, body-freedom indifferent bath attendants.

That said, for what it's worth... naturist philosophy holds that the right of those to be mindfully nude in appropriate environments outweighs the right of those made uncomfortable finding themselves around such nudity.

While no rational thinker can credibly deny  the healing process in spa resort -- upscale or rustic -- unfolds more easily when partakers are free of textile restraint (after all, again, who bathes with their clothes on?), such places can still feel the need to ban nudity and kow-tow to prevailing age-old body alienation. They cling to threadbare cultural and religious beliefs, clueless how to allow such body freedom in any enlightened, fair-minded way, possibly 

fearful business volume would drop off cliff if allowing it, plus be condemned by public's morality police, maybe even 'ownership's' associates, family and friends.

Again, ever since 2000 Stewart Springs had wobbled between two camps. Effort was to try accommodating everyone -- Sunday nudists, dyed-in-the-wool freebodies, textile junkies, and nude-phobics alike -- as fairly as possible. But both would-be nudists and bare-notters were often left grumbling around edges over sometimes awkward checkerboard of "Okay here, not okay there" zones.

It had seemed most doable compromise at the time, given the layout of bathhouse and diversity of visitor lifestyles. And would've worked better with active, mindful support of management rather than hands-off,  passive suffering of distasteful policy they felt saddled with from previous management, natural result for Springs never having been any more of a genuine clothing-optional resort like wider region's (estranged from) sister springs.


Going to the extreme of No Nudity, PERIOD created a torrent of adverse reaction by what owners may not have realized (or did and didn't give a flying leap) was significant portion of place's devotees and its off-season backbone support... 

...one, again, that included many comfortable with clothing-option even though passing on option themselves. To repeat at risk of sounding like a stuck record, they no doubt sensed that body freedom, besides creating far more relaxed atmosphere conducive to deep purification, letting go, and rejuvenation, enabled individuals to develop more positive body acceptance and experience physical liberation after lifetime of society's mandated body oppression. It made for almost-magically fast-tracking re-integration of body, mind and spirit on profoundly higher levels. 

So no longer accommodating far-flung base of nude-opting visitors marked one dumbfoundingly lamentable turn of events, the worst since Stewart Springs closed gates to general public for years in mid 1980s for want of business and finding suitable management.

Its former policy, though, again, at times awkward and seemingly arbitrary, enabled untold thousands the world over to maximize healing benefits of spa regimen while gaining/reinforcing measure of positive body acceptance and liberation. No one was left out...except perhaps the duly freaking champions of false modesty, dues-paying members of the Keep It All Hid Society, and in extreme cases,your gymnophobiac  -- one who has a pathological fear of nudity...their own and/or that of others.

It perhaps can't be stressed enough: having option to be mindfully clothesfree, alone or among others, amid harmony of nature during relaxing spa regimen is a rare therapeutic, often liberating experience, one that helped spectacularly distinguish Stewart's as an enlightened, progressive-minded retreat haven with a policy eminently support-worthy in a neurotically perma-dressed world. Result: life-changing liberation from crippling body shame and thus enabling better integrating of spirit.

Changing Room Chaos?

One wrinkle in changing policy maybe not considered was place's ridiculously tiny changing room. It long served as a co-ed changing area -- not well, but served. It was an impossibly small and narrow space with side bank of cubbies and two curtained nooks in back.

On busy days there could be over half a dozen visitors wanting to change at once, plus others wanting to access stashed belongings. No practical places for separate men's and women's changing rooms existed in bathhouse, short of sacrificing employee break room, unused juice bar, or a tubroom. As things stood, chaos and frustration -- making for decidedly unsettling energy un-conducive to meditative calm desired in place ostensibly dedicated to purifying, healing and relaxing -- would've resulted if

'owners' didn't relent and work out a more reasonable, realistic, doable c/o compromise. (But hey, with coronavirus supposedly prompting permanent bathhouse closure, no problema.)


(Before policy liberalized, two current tub rooms, #2 and 3, were changing rooms -- no tubs then -- spaces with actual doors, far better accommodating changers while preserving modesty by gender.) 

Would You Bathe

With Your Clothes On?

Another matter: dress code at creek's cold plunge. Unless people were at the very least allowed to uncover and briefly skinnydip, as they did formerly, even during otherwise no-nudity-allowed years, pure misery was the result. It was too weird expecting visitors to awkwardly keep on cold wet sheet, towel, or sarong and walk around in  drenched cloth. It severely crimped the ability to cleanse, heal and rejuvenate. 

 In cold weather it was torture.


Then there was the safety concern. One's coming out of coldplunge in winter with sheet on and navigating often slippery stone steps was made more difficult and accident-prone, encumbered with suddenly heavy, more binding, drenched cloth that one suddenly became preoccupied with lest some dread wardrobe malfunction should occur. It detracted crucial focus from avoiding missteps or losing traction on sometimes slippery rocks and suffering a real mishap.


Again, even though nudity was banned before 2000 under Foggy, an exception was made for actual creek plunge, making recent policy the most restrictive one in almost a half century.

Respite from

Tyranny of Cloth

What better way was there to integrate physical, psychological and spiritual sides of individual on higher level -- one of supposed primary aims of new owners' affiliate, Inkarri -- than by experiencing precious mindful body freedom during spa therapy in delightfully natural environs?

Again, in our depressingly overdressed world, being even briefly liberated from mandatory cover-up and the tyranny of cloth at places like mineral springs could work wonders. It easily allowed for dramatic breakthroughs in positive body acceptance and physical liberation, enabling advancing one's spiritual journey to higher levels while feeling happier in one's skin.

Strike Compromise?

Because we are still in such a dominant, cover-up-obsessed world, many felt that the only realistic and fair solution to avoid excluding anyone's druthers would've been to strike viable compromise...

...a fair balance for visitors of either inclination. Such thinking, of course, assumed, perhaps erroneously, that owners hoped to broaden diversity of customer base, rather than narrow it to more conventional-minded mainstream, or possibly even privatize grounds.


Granted, the checkerboard of clothing-optional zones could be cumbersome and confusing and appear totally arbitrary.  It was trey weird having to wrap up to only go the few feet from tub to sauna...lest one

appear to be streaking between points. It detracted from any easier energy flow. But, given condensed bathhouse set-up and diverse visitorship, it was possibly the best possible compromise and may yet remain so under new owners, should they ever miraculously have change of heart (fat chance)...or, under future appropriate new owners, arriving like cavalry to Fort Stewart to rescue the place from fiery perdition of hide-bound morality and bold seizure of long-time simple, bohemian-friendly, egalitarian-minded retreat.

Launch Clothing Optional Days?

Sister mineral springs Jackson Wellsprings, outside Ashland, OR, faced same issue. They resolved it by striking compromise and making hours from evening on clothing-optional and adults only, and one evening a week women only. This works well for them since they were open til midnight pre-Covid to serve much larger nearby population.

Had current owners grasped merit in establishing more inclusive and enlightened policy rather than trying to make place over to lah-de-dah, upscale hideaway for own bourgeois-new-age-y shtick, pricing out and lifestyling out most fans, Stewart's might've finally integrated and fine-tuned its policy

and at last joined sister springs, making mindful-nudity option a relative non-issue.


But tearing out tubs in bathhouse and repurposing building clearly shows they have zero intention of serving the public, but rather some misguided five-year plan to transition realm to an exclusive compound for their own private use. 

In any event, fans boycotted en mass, spreading word how owners either willfully or ignorantly destroyed the decades-old progressive culture long serving general public by woefully inappropriate intent to make place over to suit their own private-minded schemes and buttoned-down, conventional

to new-age-tinged lifestyles.

Owners will in time either have miraculous change of heart or, more likely if having been dependent on patrons who now stay away in droves, ultimately give up and put place back on market. 

And even if they DO manage to build up some solid new customer base -- or are in fact hell-bent trying to privatize place, they will in time, again, be made keenly aware of the Mount Everest of bad karma they've created. Are they conscious enough to eventually want to redeem themselves, chalking it all up to experience and letting go of the place and seek out more appropriate stewards...thus assuring ultimate positive place in realm's legacy?


That's the real question.


If every true fan of place visualizes them waking up to the nightmare they've created for themselves and making up for 

it by finding progressive-minded steward(s) to shepherd the Springs, place becoming at long last a nonprofit healing and rejuvenating retreat for mindful, wellness-seeking, nature-loving peoples everywhere...


...THEN Stewart Springs might regain and build on former global reputation as the rare, quirky, bohemian healing spa resort...one open to the general public to serve the greater good in the wilds at the top of the Golden State, resonating with Mount Shasta and the timeless creek flowing through it.

________________________

Writer Ward served as SMS volunteer assistant manager 2000-2002 under Mary H. while living on grounds; also maintained cold plunge for 14 years. He's self-published works covering body acceptance and body freedom inspired by own liberating experiences at Springs.

See personal story Body Freedom Returns to Springs on Book Excerpts page. Also further analysis of changing policy and c/o ban rants of others in Rants & Raves (scroll halfway down)



_______________________________________

New Ownership

First in 34 Years

by Stu Ward

August 1, 2016

December 2017 note: Eighteen months after penning this, writer realized he had the wool pulled over eyes. Had naively hoped new ownership would make everything right once 12-year old manager Rowena P., lingering vestige of 34-year, profit-driven Foggy ownership reign, was at last out of picture.

Didn't realize they were apparently on same page in many ways. They seemed to resonate with her vision of "Refining the Culture" by working to overhaul visitor base to build more "respectable" clientele, reflecting own buttoned-down lifestyles, while supporting place's doubling as far-flung outfit's headquarters...maybe, as some suspect, even privatizing it outright in time for groups' own exclusive use.


In any event, they made it clear they no longer want to deal with bohemian-minded and alternative-culture energies that -- duh -- ALWAYS gravitate to alternative-healing spas like Stewart's has been for nearly a century and a half.


Rather than try to update article, writer let it stand with only a few changes, like clothing-optional ban that took effect three months after first posting. Consider it a testament to how easily one can get snookered if taking people's intentions at face value via their posted literature.

_____________________________

Some 34 years after last owner, John Foggy, essentially inherited springs from previous owner after investment loan default and did best he could with healing retreat, with which he at times seemed to have little resonance beyond it being an offbeat income generator, Stewart Mineral Springs sold to new owners on January 19, 2016.

In happy contrast, new ownership, though also absentee, is at least semi-involved in spiritual field.


Members of Inkarri Cultural Association, along with affiliated Pnenuma Foundation,  

turned onto the place years ago during repeat workshop retreats. They'd stayed at various mineral spring resorts in wider region for their periodic retreats, always looking for one to call home base.


Among other things, they're into Inca shamanism and providing support to Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and Q'ero Nation in Peru. Their Pneuma System "seeks to integrate spiritual, psychological, and physical aspects of the individual" and "centers on transpersonal experience as a powerful method leading to inner transformation." Aim: "...to deepen our experience of the Sacred, both within and without of ourselves and thus learn to live our life with increasingly deeper awareness and clarity." 


Sounds like a good fit. To further quote site:


"Inkarri is a Quechua word that means morning sun, a symbol of spiritual awakening at the dawn of a new era. The word Inkarri also alludes to an Incan myth, where the son of the Sun, an enlightened being, will come in the future to assist humanity and restore harmony on the planet. This correlates with other mythologies and prophesies within many cultures, such as the Tibetan culture, which makes reference to the Buddha Maitreya as the Buddha of the Future."

Founder of California's popular Cafe Gratitude restaurant chain, Mathew Engelhart, was briefly new co-owner, but since sold interest. (One can only wonder why...) Owner formed corporation with board of directors, each member having financial stake.

(On weird side note, for legal purposes Stewart Mineral Springs is now on record as Golden Eagle Resort. Last owner didn't legally register name Stewart Mineral Springs in time and someone else snagged it and has been holding name ransom ever since. Was easier re-naming place if only for legal purposes than pay extortionate fee to buy it back. Apparently the concern, in Bay Area, began weirdly touting some operation as Stewart Mineral Springs; hopefully few were mislead into thinking place had actually branched or changed locations -- as if it could.)


While living even more distant -- as far away as L.A., Mexico, even South America (and one thought former owner location in S.F. was far) -- new ownership will no doubt over time work to prioritize projects and shape policies for management to fulfill that reflect evolving hopes and aspirations for place once they become better acquainted with its history and traditions.

Clothing-optional policy 

One of Inkarri's stated goals is "To promote profound personal transformation". Since recently banned optional mindful nudity during spa regimen can so easily and dramatically promote this, it's hoped that any day new owners will connect dots, reconsider, and let management bring Springs back

into resonance with former glory as down-home, spiritually-grounded rustic healing retreat...one liberal-minded enough to permit modest measure of mindful nudity...one that the dedicated Stewart family manifested and ran for nearly 80 years, from 1876 to 1954, though not clothing-optional; and Goodpasture family ownership through 1970s and Foggy ownership's last 16 years, from 2000 through 2016, when happily it was. see history

Co-manager couple Ted and Rowena held ten-year contract with former owner Foggy that expired at end of 2016. New, younger management was groomed by outgoing general manager Rowena and have now nominally taken helm. [later note: She decided to stay on to work in background management capacity, coordinating visitor groups and in fact remained senior business manager;  

her lingering involvement continued to shape and enforce new policies as directed by new ownership, almost entirely by remote, through November 2017].


On sad note, husband and co-manager Ted passed away late October 2015 at age 65. Obit He'd been diagnosed with late-stage liver disease around beginning of tenure in 2006. He dedicated remaining years to evolving Springs infrastructure, initiating many notable improvements and repairs visible throughout grounds. Firm believer in Spring water's healing properties, regular soakings very likely extended his life many years before liver failure finally claimed him.


To former owner John Foggy's everlasting credit, he saw the wisdom in keeping rustic charm of place intact, thus keeping it unique among northwest mineral springs resorts, delighting visitors with its quaint summer camp feeling...and was liberal-minded enough to allow clothing-optional in second half of ownership (if perhaps only because it sent business volume through the roof).That he sometimes let place's upkeep slide distressingly is now ancient history, forgiven especially since he plowed so much back in during final years.

Fly in Ointment

Word from old manager is new owners are basically happy with the way place is. They're reportedly open to fine-tuning operation through management and staff directives based on popular visitor feedback.

Alas, this included many supposedly complaining to outgoing manager about how much they were turned off by since-scrapped clothing-optional policy. Based on what's suspected an exaggerated, or even outright fabricated, report of isolated incident of some old man publicly jacking off on sundeck in 2016, owners decided to end 16-year tradition of body freedom at Springs. Cover-up is now required everywhere outside tubroom and shower stalls. (see above editorial; also home-page story, editorial sidebar and SMS Facebook feedback in Rants & Raves)

Barring this one not-so-little wrinkle for everyone treasuring place's Euro-style tradition of permitting simple nudity in appropriate areas for maximum spa benefit and enjoyment, Stewart Springs, after one long, uber-strange trip now hopefully appears in more appropriate hands.

Two indications: First thing owners did was raise everyone's wages (albeit raising admission to cover). [...or thought they did; apparently it was only management positions, while workers were still sweating away at minimum wage.] And they committed to pouring every cent of profit during first two years back into place. Among other things, this enabled new manager Josh W. to get a decent heavy-duty work truck for place.

If new ownership in time relents, appreciating how clothing-optional ban holds back place's deeper transformative potential for visitors, then new management, with support of staff and so-minded regulars, can work to elevate c/o policy to more conscious, respectable one prompting dutiful compliance by visitors. In time c/o could become the relative non-issue that it is at other popular regional rural spring resorts.


Then Springs might at long last be reed to soar like an eagle to lofty new heights as extraordinary healing and rejuvenation center and workshop retreat.

Whatever side of c/o issue visitors fall in on, all who revere place no doubt wish ownership well in new stewardship. 


_____________________________



Earlier brief

news reports


March 20, 2015


Plunge Deepened

With sporadic on-going work-trade efforts, creek coldplunge, new tarp liner installed, gaining needed depth - now up to four feet or so off stone steps in.

Just in time for spring equinox.

__________________________________________

March 8, 2015

New Clawfoot Tub


Bathtub room 7 next to sauna, offline for month or two, now back online with new clawfoot.


_________________________

March 1, 2015

Sauna Wood Refinished

During annual work session last Monday thru Thursday, caretaker Russell sanded off old finish of sauna's floor, benches, wall and ceiling and re-coated with linseed oil, made from flax seed. While oil coating is natural, it still makes for fumes that any chemically sensitive (like writer, who it made nauseous after while) might react to until it's finished outgassing.

Original coating, applied when new sauna built, used woefully inappropriate, toxic outdoor deck coating, which noxious outgassing left anyone at all sensitive gagging. Some were unable to use sauna for over month or two without getting headaches or becoming nauseous.

New finish makes wood bit darker, lending more womb-like atmosphere to sauna. Can't resist: new finish makes sauna more...Finnish.

__________________________________________

February 21, 2015

New cold plunge maintainer

Frequent visitor Mario of Lake Shastina has taken on chilly job of rebuilding Springs' cold plunge from moi. Plunge is distressed since big rainstorm created creek rampage that severely damaged it. Breached rock wall is once again repaired -- challenging six hour labor -- making it once again safe to dip in the creek. Mario wears wet suit to stay relatively warm in 43 degree waters.

Work-trader, he could always use help. Challenge now, as always, is to deepen creek floor by removing rock and gravel, slow process, as well as heighten rock wall, to try to bring plunge back to at least waist depth, rather than current knee depth that can make easy plunging a bit iffy.

The deal for workers: one free bath for every earnest hour of work. See operations manager Josh if interested.

Writer had to step down after over-ambitious rock moving resulted in hernia. started first, recent cold plunge pool in 1999 and built it up and maintained it 14 years as labor of love.

_________________________________________

December 17, 2014

Work Traders Needed to Repair Cold Plunge

Heavy rains and resulting flooding of creek last week threatened to destroy the cold-plunge dam. Water level was almost up to base of angel on the island. While dam managed to hold, it did wash away top layer of rocks that covered now exposed brown and blue tarps and, worse, filled up so much of plunge with rocks and gravel depth is under knee height, making immersing a bit more laborious.

Once writer's longtime bailiwick, health issues no longer permit lifting heavy rocks. New work traders with strong backs -- and maybe wetsuits, including booties and gloves, for working in 46 degree water -- are needed to repair plunge to former depth.

Deal: one free bath/two saunas for every hour of work. if you know of someone that might be, spread the word. Contact Josh for details.

_________________________________________

Sept. 21, 2014

Weed Fire Aid

The Springs, along with other local motels, helped ease a tragic situation created by the nearby Weed's fire disaster by comping all its unrented accommodations for Weed's suddenly homeless.

The office desk accepted donations to help one single mom of four who lost her home in the hard-hit Angel Valley neighborhood on north side of town.

_______________________________________

April, 2013

Mendera, indefatigable builder, crosses over

Mendera, who dedicated last two years of his life making substantial improvements to Springs he loved, left us April 2nd, 2013. Work was inspired by belief region was possibly site of original garden of Eden.

Among his many accomplishments, usually done along with dedicated Mexican work crew led by foreman Jesus, were re-building car bridge, building new twin bathhouse showers, replacing bathhouse floor, enlarging conference hall deck, replacing A-frame upper deck, zenning out landscape all around bathhouse, building new foot bridge across creek below conference hall...

His last -- and in some ways greatest -- service was saving the day when late 2012 deluge's aftermath (see below), changed creek flow and threatened bathhouse and stairway. He directed earth-moving equipment to shore up banks plus had placed huge foundation boulders for new cold plunge.

Such ceaseless work efforts built up improvement momentum that continues apace with current groundskeepers.

His presence is missed.

________________________________________________

late 2012

Old Creek

Plunge

No More

A late autumn rainstorm sent a raging torrent down the creek and wiped out old cold plunge of 14 years, threatening to take bathhouse stairway as well but for emergency efforts.

Creek island accessed by plank bridge was partly washed away as well. Its angel statue, however, weathered deluge unscathed. The walking plank itself was retrieved far downstream by four workers hoisting and toting heavy sodden timber a hundred yards and wrestling it back into place, working in near-freezing waters.

New plunge was hastily built up by work traders and help of Jesus's crew the following spring and summer. Unfortunately, rooted rocks on plunge bottom couldn't be budged, making for trickier footing once in water. On plus side, it's just as deep as old one, and steps leading in built by Kierra have never been so zen.