- Aria Zoner
Locals on The Hot Springs Trail
Although The Hot Springs National Scenic Trail is one man’s idea, behind the scenes there are thousands of people who have already been putting in their time building it. Meet just a few of them here. Stick around afterwards cause at the end, I also share 3 Tips For Getting More Trail Magic On This Trail. And who doesn't want that?
"Trust me, your package will be in Atlanta"
When I first had the idea of hiking from hot spring to hot spring as a long distance journey I was simply doing it for my own vacation, which during the years of 2009-2014 I did several times. Each trip was spectacular. On them I met a host of other hot spring soakers and hikers and whenever I would tell one of them what I was up to, they would almost always say "I’d love to do something like that too."
On a mission to complete this journey in one go, I collected my notes and by the spring of the following year I had created a tangible version of a guide that could be passed on and repeated. So of course, in 2016, I repeated. Once again, for me, it was a spectacular trip.
During this process, I've been asking people:
Would you like to see a Hot Springs National Scenic Trail?
Here’s what they've been saying:
TOWNS & OUTPOSTS
The Clark Fork, Idaho Post Office
I talked to people in stores, restaurants, hotels, and post offices and even established new resupply connections in the remote outposts of Silver Peak and Benton, where they had never serviced thru-hikers before. What about experienced outposts like Red's Meadow and Atlanta, Idaho? All of these places had said “Yes, you can publish us in your guidebook and hikers can send resupply packages here too.”
RESORTS & RETREATS
McNally's on the Kern River, California
I talked to 12 hot spring resort owners and a few roadside retreats who all said “We’d love to be included in this project.” In McNally's case, they've built the last burger shack before entering the Sierra. They also have a piece of advice for you: "Stick to the trail!"
Whitewater Ranch, Idaho
I approached over a dozen trail angels including Hikertown, VVR, and Whitewater Ranch on the Idaho Centennial Trail and again, was met with excitement and support for the trail. "For us, half of the therapeutic value of The Hot Springs Trail is just the thought of going and doing something amazing."
The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Trail Crew
I talked to State Park managers, National Park workers, land owners, and a handful of agencies and organizations – and each time was met with support for the idea. “We’re glad to see that our work’s not being done in vain. When we were cleaning up the trail by Marten Creek we were saying to ourselves ‘no one comes out here, we're wasting our time!’ and then we see you out here today with this book and it's awesome now. Thank you for honoring our work!”
Locals on The Hot Springs Trail
This would include anyone I met while exploring the trail or visiting the hot springs. These people were a unanimous yes. Although after I would point to the top of the mountain and say to them “It goes up there next if you want to tag along" 95% admitted that they probably wouldn’t be making it too far.
THE HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL SCENIC TRAIL PROPOSAL
The Hot Springs Trail Official Guidebook
As I was out there meeting people, I'd show them my prototype book and would again and again see their faces light up. Sometimes it was cause they were blissed out and happy for me, sometimes it was cause they were stoked and wanted to go hike it now, and sometimes it was cause they were just laughing at me for carrying such a heavy book.
But to me this book isn’t a weight on my shoulders, it’s a load off my mind.
Okay! Enough about them. As promised, here's my:
3 Tips For Getting More Trail Magic On The Hot Springs Trail
1. Avoid Crowds
No one likes more crowd to arrive at an already crowded hot spring. Get friendlier with the locals, and maybe even learn where some of their secret soaking spots are, by soaking at dusk and dawn.
2. Respect the Springs
Be a steward and everyone’s hero at the same time by:
Picking up micro-trash
Servicing and cleaning soaking pools where needed
Being a self-reliant hiker and not a wondering bum
3. Yield to Locals
When on this trail, be courteous to and respectful of those who are not just passing thru.
Listen to a Trail-Caster interview locals while hiking on the HST
The land has said yes too.
Thanks for your feedback & support. I hope you have a great soak!