Chasing the Totality

Day 17: Fifth Water

Since we were camped nearby, we were able to get an early start for this hike to a popular hot springs south or Orem, Utah. Already at 9:00 in the morning the parking lot was nearly full. Off we went all the same, since it was a nice hike in its own right, whether or not there was a mob scene at the hot springs.
The well-worn trail snakes through a red-walled canyon wit a roaring mountain stream. The water is highly sulphorous and has a very strong smell. The pools are irridescent milky blue from suspended minerals.
There was a crowd at the first waterfall, but fortunately we knew where to go and had a very nice soak in what we have heard is the best hot pool in Utah. On the way out, we met hundreds of people hiking in!

Famished after the hike, we turned off at a small town with the curious name of "Helper". We thought it might be a Mormon thing, but Helper was a hub on the Denver and Rio Grande Railway and most likely named for the additional locomotives or "helper engines" that may be added to a train to provide extra power for steep grades. Helper has a super cute downtown that reminded me of Bisbee. We loved the quirky Balance Rock Eatery & Pub in a historic building on Main Street. I asked the clerk in the very nicely stocked grocery store what was keeping this small town alive. "Art," she replied. Wow!

We holed up for the night at the same dispersed spot in Wildcast Pasture where we had stayed two weeks earlier. I filled a full-sized trash bag with the debris we found at our site. I always wonder what people are thinking when they leave behind a pile of beer cans and plastic water bottles and twinkie wrappers. Do they think the Forest Service will come by and clean it up? Do they really want to revisit their trash next time they camp at this spot? Do they imagine that plastic and metal trash will magically decompose on its own? Do they think anything at all?

Next: Burr Trail