2020.01.10 - Thermal baths in the wild

Thermal baths in the wild

We continue the presentation of heat sources that reach the surface far from us Hungarians, and far from any human civilization too. Swimming in untouched, natural environment in these natural sources is a really breathtaking experience. Also, it may not be the privilege of only the rich (except for the cost of travel of course).  In the previous part, we gave a taste of the hidden heat sources of Europe, Asia, and Australia. Now it’s time to talk about some in Africa, North and South America.

On the sacred paths of the Incas

If we hear the name Machu Picchu, we may not associate it with heat sources, but the fact is that special thermal baths can be found near the Inca citadel. In the valley of the Urubamba River, where the famous citadel is located, many sources of heat burst to the surface, which is probably why this area was considered sacred by the Incas, the natives of the country. Only 14 kilometers from Machu Picchu, 1500 meters above the sea level you can find Cocalmayo's 38-45 degrees Celsius hot thermal sources right on the Urubamba coast. It is true that the baths are not located completely in the deserted wilderness, but they have been built to preserve the original character of the place. Bathing in rocky pools is a truly spiritual experience, especially at night when subtropical jungle creatures come alive and mysterious sounds fill the night.

Heat sources in the desert

The United States is particularly rich in heat sources since its western region lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire.  From the many deserted and unspoiled beaches, the thermal pools of Deep Creek in California deserve special attention as they are located in the northern region of Mojave Desert. If you want to go there, you might want to rent an off-road vehicle first and then, after a little driving, take a 3 km hike through the desert. It is recommended to approach the place in the winter or early in the morning as daytime temperatures can be very high during summer. The hot pond in the fabulous landscape, however, compensates anyone for the ordeals.

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The thermal pool of gold diggers

The Chena heat sources can be found in Alaska, only a two-hour drive away from Fairbanks. Although the local Eskimo natives have been using the water of the thermal springs for healing and regeneration for a long time, the place got really popular in 1905, when the gold miners who came here discovered it and used it as their refreshment after working hard in the cold weather. The heat sources feed two ponds with hot water. The specialty of the lakes is truly evident on winter nights when visitors can admire the northern lights flowing over the snowy landscape from the warm water.

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Hot Africa

Despite the fact that Africa is not famous for its cold weather, it is an exciting experience to dip in a heat source in the middle of the desert. Riemvasmaak is located far from everything, near the Orange River and the Namibian border, in the land of the Bushmans. The heat sources which worth a trip this long are located at the bottom of an 80-meter deep canyon carved out of granite rocks. The thermal water is the remain of volcanism from millions of years ago, the effect of which is still noticeable through the entire barren rocky landscape. It is a truly spiritual experience to dip in the healing water after a day full of desert hiking. Caution!  The water of the ponds is not drinkable! Take enough drinking water if you visit this place!

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The Lake of Kilimanjaro

At the end of this part, a real gem: The Chemka heat source. It is located in Tanzania, right at the foot of the Kilimanjaro, which is the highest mountain in Africa. The water of Chemka is not so hot, it is rather refreshing, but the sparkling water that comes from the underground caves makes it seem like it is boiling. The pond at the base of palms and fig trees is a true oasis in the semi-desert savannah. After returning from a safari tourists like to dip in the crystal clear water, but there are many who cycle straight here from the nearest town (Moshi, 70 km away).

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