Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year begins at Tolovana Hot Springs

My 13 year old nephew Mark-E admires the view at the beginning of the 11-mile ski to Tolovana Hot Springs

2007 came to nice close as I submerged myself in hot tub of water and relaxed in a cozy cabin with good friends during a 3 day trip out to Tolovana Hot Springs. Thirteen of us celebrated new years at the geothermal oasis tucked away in the remote boreal forest of interior Alaska. The weather was excellent with temperatures hovering between zero and 10 below Fahrenheit.
Mark-E and Jim take a break before the 5 mile climb up Tolovana Dome.
The upper tub is situated right over a small creek. The hot water originates from a series of springs that seep out of the hillside above. Sections of the hill have been excavated to create small collection ponds or reservoirs that feed hoses which eventually pour right into the tubs. A network of hoses supply hot water to two other tubs farther downstream.
Tolovana is amazing because there is fresh cold water even during the most frigid weather. So it is not necessary to spend hours melting snow for drinking. A 33 gallon poly drum with holes in the bottom has been dropped halfway into the ground over a spring and then covered with a wooden box. The little bit of heat from the water keeps the interior of the box warm. So when you lift up the cover you're treated with an endless supply of good tasting, giardia free water.

As usual we hauled in a wide selection of food and alcohol. Some of the girls got out of hand dancing to the cheesy music blaring from the hand cranked (batteryless) radio. Mike took advantage of the moment jumped into the posse of women.

After a fireworks show put on by our young 13 yr old pyrotechnics manager, the table was cleared and became a dance platform for the erotic dancers.

This Chippendale drank too much and passed out--he was just begging to have a handful of distasteful pranks played on him during his drunken state. All other photos have been destroyed to protect the "not so" innocent.

The climb out of the hot springs is long and arduous. Here come Sharon and Mark-E making there way up one of the long steep sections of trail.

Self portrait of Mark, Leslie and me during a snack break.

Mark admires the dim mid-day sun and view from the top of Tolovana Dome. The trail to the springs is notorious for howling icy cold winds and blowing snow. Fortunately for us the winds over the treeless, exposed dome were not too strong. They picked up during the trip out and were gusting over 30 mph by the time we reached the car.

Ted has some pics on his blog from the trip: Teds Tolovana 2008


Brian Jackson said...

Thanks for opting to use the foot in the face photo in leu of some of the others!

Lena said...

i'll pay good money for some of the others!