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Is Edwin in over His Head at Deep Creek?

One of my male model friends, Ryan, is an adventure seeker and always looking for new things to do and explore, so I asked if he’s ever been to the hot springs in the desert outside of LA. He said he had been there and but wants to do it again, then asked if I wanted to tag along. But he warns, “It’s a nudist destination; you know that, right?”

Deep Creek, California

One thing he left out until two weeks prior to our adventure was that Deep Creek Hot Springs is a 5.1 mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail that is half downhill and half uphill. I considered backing out. You have to realize, I am a 47 year-old Filipino and Los Angeleno. Neither culture is crazy about walking. . .

Deep Creek Hot Springs is near Apple Valley, California and is rated as “moderate” by hiking websites. Maybe to a strapping 23 year-aold, that is moderate. Still, the trail offered a number of activity options and is best visited from March until October. (I found dogs are also able to use this trail, but must be kept on leash.)

Deep Creek, California

To be sure (and to save myself from embarrassment), I trained for this adventure for two weeks. I walked two miles every other day to get ready. On the day of our hike, we were fortunate to get great weather that hit the lows of 70° and a high of 82°, which pretty much guaranteed my survival to the stream without any problems. I even had two huge bottles of water in my backpack and enough snacks to last me a few days. (I get inexplicably nervous about being stranded. It’s a thing.) The hike to the hot springs was mostly downhill, which certainly boosted my confidence.

Deep Creek, California

We went on a Friday and saw only a couple dozen people, all of whom were incredibly friendly and nice. Many of them did elect to strip down at the hot springs, but they were folks of all ages and different walks of life. The stream was freezing cold, so you couldn’t really stay in the water for more than a minute, while the hot springs was roughly the same temperature as a jacuzzi. Ryan and I had a blast- we chatted with a few people and had a few laughs. Ryan even flew his drone and we didn’t encounter any problems whatsoever.

The hike back was a different story. I had forgotten that since the hike there was mostly downhill, the trek back to the car would be mostly uphill. Well, let’s just say I made it back to the car safely. But not without stopping five times to catch my breath and take multiple sips of water.

The lesson here is, I did it. And if I can do it, you can too. Just make sure you have a lot of snacks, you carbo load, train a few weeks before the hike … and most importantly, bring someone fun along.

Enjoy new highlights of travel photographer Edwin Santiago’s journeys each week.

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