Almost every cruiser in SE AK goes to this
wonderful spot at some time during their trip.
Baranof Warm Springs is truly a very special
This the entrance to the bay, with the waterfall
nearby. It may not look like much of a waterfall
from this perspective, but it is.
is the waterfall up close. It is really thundering
this year due to the record snowfall.
is the view from the Royal Sounder. The current
from the falls makes docking here an interesting
challenge. Well, it actually makes the undocking
the real challenge if you're on the falls side
of the dock as we were this time. There is
about a two to three knot current to contend
with that is pushing you onto the dock. Baranof
was my turn to dock (and undock) and I do love
a challenge. However,
by the time we got ready to depart all of the
other boats on our side of the dock had already
departed. That meant I didn't have to worry
about clearing a boat behind me. I could
cheat and take a little extra room on my exit.
is a lovely boardwalk through this small community.
Only four people live here year round. I have
a picture of a terrific lady who stays year
round but I swore a blood oath to her several
years ago that if she let me take her picture I
would never show it to anyone. And I have kept
that promise. We had a nice visit again this
of their usual 18 foott snowfall,
they had a record 34 feet fall this year.
It snowed several feet as late as the middle
of May - about two weeks before we arrived.
Some of the smaller cabins really suffered
as can be seen in this picture. The other side
of that coin is that the abundant snow has
made the mountain scenery the most beautiful
we have ever seen up here.
is piped from the upper falls natural warm
springs to this public bath house on the dock.
There are three stalls with tubs that were
once destined to be watering troughs for cattle.
Don't care!!!! The bath is great and the view
the view gets even better from this
angle. You just sit in the tub in a trance
and see this glorious scene. Pinch me. Is this
real? It's tempting to sit there forever!
was a brand new all-wooden tub being installed
in the third stall the day we left. What a
beauty. It was very close to being
ready to use. I was able to get a picture of
it, but I'll have to wait til my next
visit for a woody soak.
really fabulous place to get a hot soak at
Baranof, however, is in the natural springs
at the upper falls. You get to it by a short
hike along a boardwalk and mud trail. This
year, because of the very recent snowfall,
we engaged in a unique activity:
a snowball fight!
here is the spectacular goal. Now THIS is a
in hot water with a roaring waterfall right
at your shoulder is as close to nirvana as
I can imagine.
for perspective, here is my boot in the picture.
When I say you're close to it, I mean you are
really close to it.
difficult to leave this breathtaking
scene. I think it is the most beautiful natural
hot springs setting I have ever seen.
hike beyond this spot brings you to vistas
like this one at the lake that feeds the falls
the return leg of my hike I paused to
find this pretty juxtaposition.
is another little adventure I had while at
Baranof Warm Springs this year. There is a little
salt-water lagoon in the bay that I have always
said I was going to go look at, but I had never
gotten around to it before. The
Douglass guide says it should be entered at
high water slack. I drove by the entrance in
the dinghy about two hours pre high water - just
to take a peek. Hmmm.... not ready yet. I can't
drive the dinghy uphill over THAT.
OK.... Waiting.... Waiting.... The Douglass
book said .... I'm back for a look at one hour
pre high water. Well, it looks pretty inviting
now. I can do that. Can't I? Looks doable.
It was definitely a sled ride in and I found
a little "lumpiness" at the
other end of the entrance that I couldn't see
from the outside. I had to quickly raise the
engine and ride the flood in until I was pitched
into the lagoon. Looking back at the entrance things looked
like this. Ooops. It's hard to tell in this
picture from the inside looking out, but I
could see that I was not going to be leaving
soon. I called David on the VHF and said he
should enjoy his book because it would
be about an hour before I could exit.
set the little anchor we carry in the
dinghy and had myself an hour long Walden
Pond experience that Thoreau would have been
proud of. A gentle rain. An adult eagle training
an adolescent. Millions of the tiniest jellyfish
I had ever seen. Mountains. Snow. Birds singing.
More birds singing. What a gift it is
to be here.
When the depth sounder showed me what I wanted
to see I checked the little channel and
that looks more like it. No more lumps. So...
Engine down and exit made at ... well,
imagine that ... at high water. Just like
the Douglass book says!
I'll just call this my little cowboy moment
for the trip. Let's see what other little "safe
adventures" I can get myself into. Stay
tuned for future Linda shenanigans.
M/V Royal Sounder