May 18, 2022

All trails is source at Fifth Water Hot Springs


This archived article was written by: Chelsie Thackeray

When initially moving to
Price from my mountainous
home up north,
I was certain that I had moved to
the middle of nowhere. I wasn’t far
from the truth; with a population
of 8,000 people and the closest
town of comparable size an hour
away, Price quickly became the
victim of my constant repining,
and I felt stuck.
It wasn’t until a summer Monday
evening that my paradigm
began to change. On the first
evening of the new school year, a
group of acquaintances with whom
I barely exchanged first names with
proposed a trip to a wondrous place
where hot, refreshing water supposedly
bubbled out of the ground: the
Fifth Water Hot Springs.
Never one to turn down adventure,
I agreed to clamber into the
passenger seat of a total stranger’s
car, with two more slight acquaintances
in the rear. I plugged in the
aux cord and off we went, driving
through the twilight canyon like a
spaceship on its maiden voyage.
We cruised through the foothills
of the Manti-La Salle National
Forest, taking our time to absorb
the beauty found in the diversity
of the landscape. When we finally
arrived, night had fallen, and it was
time to begin our ascent.
At the beginning of our trek
up the winding nighttime trail,
the wilderness echoed the sounds
of our pleasant chatter and naive
optimism. We skipped over bridges
and hopped across those initial
streams that tempted us with their
lackadaisical ease. We were confident
that our swimsuit-adorned,
sandal-clad attire was enough to
last us just a little longer, and that
the promised paradise was mere
minutes away.
Yet as any noteworthy story portrays,
our premonitions about the
course ahead were far from reality.
What we thought would be a
pleasant stroll through the canyon
underbrush turned into an under-
prepared escapade; our lack
of foresight left us under-prepared
for the rocks, brushes and heinous
stench that reeked of rotten eggs
and sulfur. As we made our final
treacherous descent through scrub
oak and thistles, my expectations
of these “magical” springs reached
an all-new low.
We set our belongings on the
boulders surrounding the pool of
our promised hot springs. As we
stripped off the layers over our
swimsuits, I silently resigned to
stay in the odorous waters for as
little as possible. The moment my
toes slipped into the questionable
water below and I found myself
in paradise.
No longer was I caught up in the
arduous journey before. Instead, I
was transported to a decadent utopia,
surrounded by instant friends
with a longtime connection. We
laughed at jokes and played silly
games until the night grew long,
falling in love with the home of our
confinement, making promises we
would never keep. When we finally
had our fill, we put our prune toes
back on the trail, now skipping the
three miles back to our beginning.
The nostalgic times that followed
will be a part of my memory,
embedded in a way only understood
by those who have embarked to
this place themselves. As an avid
hiker and outdoors enthusiast, I
recommend this hike to anyone
looking for an unforgettable time,
especially if they’ve never experienced
hot springs themselves,
especially to anyone who doubts
the rich beauty found in Price and
the mountains surrounding it.

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