Before 2019, I would have never thought that I would find solace in hiking or trekking. I attended many steeplechases and walkathon during my childhood, and then there were the required road marches and field training exercises. Outside of those experiences, I had never hiked or went camping on my own volition. It was not until I took a trip to Argentina to El Chaltén that this all changed. The intent was to trek towards Laguna Capri to get a glimpse of Mount Fitz Roy. Thirty minutes into the hike, I wanted to quit; I had thoughts of going back to the car during those moments. It wasn’t until we were an hour into the hike when something changed.
I don’t know if it was the idea of conquering something difficult or getting to the prize at the end, but my mind adjusted. I started to notice nature, the animals, my thoughts, and the airy energy that was both nostalgic and optimistic. We started walking after 8 am and made it back to the car after 4 pm, so this was the longest hike I had ever done willingly. When I got to Laguna Capri and saw the view, I knew it was all worth it! Words couldn’t describe the feeling, view, and serenity this place imparted upon me. For the first time in a long time, I was experiencing true quietness and peace. It felt like a place of meditation and holiness. It was then I realized there was something within the earth, the rocks, trees, and animals that inhabited these sacred places. I started to think that this was why many people were addicted to outdoor activities. It was also why so many fought to prioritize conserving the ecosystems and becoming one with the planet we rent space from during our lifespan. I had these feelings before when I lived on my island. These were the feeling of looking into a day, seeing the wind rushing through trees, and knowing that I had seen this before. It was as if I was an old soul looking at the world through new eyes.
Ringbolt Hot Spring
In December, I visited Ringbolt Hot Spring also known as Arizona Hot Springs. These hot springs are a group of geothermal springs that runs from lukewarm to almost boiling hot. They are located very close to Hoover Dam and is a great spot for a casual family hike or couples hang out. There are multiple hot springs collecting water in large pools that runs from one pool to the next. The first pool is warmer than the next because that is the source of the spring, which is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) and cools to 94 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius).
The hike to the hot spring is about 3.2 miles from the main parking lot. The hike to Ringbolt Hot Spring takes close to one hour, depending on your pace, and if you are like us and bought kids along, then the time can vary. The terrain was rugged with scattered trees. This place doesn’t have lush vegetation, but there are interesting plants that dot the trail. There are large rocks and some steep areas, so you have to be careful; while this is easy-medium trail trips falls are common because of the ruggedness.
This hike is a good day trip that will get you to the hot springs before noon if you start before 9am. Many people got there with wine, beer, or a snack and just sit in the warm water. If I could give any tips about going here, I would suggest bringing a swimsuit, water shoes, a snack, and do not bring expensive camera equipment. I took one of my Canon DSLRs and ended up dropping it in the water. This was due to my friend’s young son. By the end of the trip, I no longer had a working camera, but lucky for me the memory card wasn’t damaged. Regardless of the property loss, I enjoyed my hike to the hot spring and the company there and back.
Gold Strike Canyon
A few weeks after visiting the hot springs, we saddled up for another adventure to the Gold Strike Canyon to get a view of the Colorado River located downstream from Hoover Dam. Instead of crossing the border into Arizona, we stayed on the Nevada side and trailed down towards the Colorado River and the Hoover Dam. This hike is much longer than the Ringbolt Hot Spring hike, and I would rate this one as a medium to difficult as it is very rocky and involves repelling down boulders to get to the river. This hike beat our ass because we were not expecting to climb, jump, and crawl our way to and from the river. It was like running an obstacle course, and I loved it. Once you get closer to the river, you also see hot springs, small waterfalls, and streams.
If you are planning to visit this trail, I would warn you that if you weren’t keen on climbing up or down ropes hanging off large rocks, this is not the hike for you. It is also an extremely popular trail, so you might find a lot of people in large groups. This means that when you get to the sections that require you to climb up or down the rocks, there might be a line. This is also not a solo hike for amateurs. Please take someone with you because it will take group effort to overcome the obstacles (large rocks and cliffs). If you bring pets (dogs) and children, be patient and maybe bring a harness and ropes. It wasn’t easy, and my group ended up with bumps and bruises, but the view was worth it. If you are a conservative person who has a problem with nudity, also understand that everyone isn’t going to be that way, as the hot spring soaking pools often have skinny-dippers. This was also a feature at the Arizona hot springs as well. There have also been warnings of Naegleria fowleri or “brain-eating amoeba” in the water. While the risk is low, I would not drink the water or totally submerge my face in it.
I consider myself an amateur hiker, but I immediately noticed the difference between hiking in the United States and Argentina. The first difference was in the people and how they dressed for hiking. On both trails in the United States, I noticed that 9 out of 10 wore things like jeans, makeup, low cut tops, and footwear more about fashion than practicality. There was also a large amount of littering taking place, so we took it upon ourselves to pick up trash wherever we saw it. One of the common elements about hiking in both countries was how hikers were helpful towards each other. They helped each other scale rocks or greeted each other in a more welcoming manner. Everyone was sharing in the same experience, and when someone seemed hurt or tired, anyone who saw it showed concern.
Both the Colorado Hot Springs and Gold Strike Canyon were enjoyable and helped me to recharge. I cannot wait to go on another hike to get some well-needed exercise and be in a place outside of the world I currently inhabit.