a dirt road in a valley between rugged hills
Succor Creek

Succor Creek was a beautiful place to wake up. I took a walk with Zelda on Saturday morning, down this road, and the scenery on all sides was incredibly beautiful. Even the herds of small children roaming the hills couldn’t make the campground feel crowded. But we had miles to go and prepaid reservations at our next campground, so we packed up and headed out.

Ironically — or, as my son might remind me, in just a not-very-funny coincidence — after all my worries about driving on the dirt roads, I managed to crunch poor Serenity after we got back on the road. At a gas station, alas. And I managed to break the kind of streak that everyone should wish for: thirty-five years of never having to call an insurance company because of something I’d done. Dang.

a badly scraped side of the van with a broken heater vent
Poor Serenity. I promised her I would get her fixed, though!

But it was what it was. The van was still drivable and no one was hurt so after spending some time chatting with my truly delightful Progressive customer service person (sympathetic! helpful! organized!), we got back on the road.

Fortunately, our destination was exactly the kind of place you want to end up at when you’re feeling stressed and frustrated with yourself: Crystal Crane Hot Springs Campground. The campground itself was not beautiful: dry grass, rocky gravel sites, no trees or separation between sites, port-a-potty type toilets right across from our own site…

Our campsite at Crystal Crane Hot Springs
three dogs on three dog beds
Even the dogs said, “This ground is too hard.” All of them wanted outside beds. It was cute to see them all piled up together, though. The bed that Z is on is her bed, but there was much mild doggie competition to be the one who got that bed over the course of the week.

But do you see that hint of water behind Serenity in the above picture? The hot springs was basically a pond, and the water was amazing. S and I swam once in the afternoon, then as soon as it started to get dark we went back again.

Drifting in the hot water in the cool night air while the stars came out was… spectacular. It was a moment where I was intensely glad to be where I was, to be alive, to be experiencing life. Bats swooped overhead, which doesn’t sound like it should be cool, but really was, and planes left contrails in the sky until it got so dark that you couldn’t see them. It was surreally beautiful.

A GIF of steam rising off the hot springs at sunrise
Steam rising off the spring.

Unlike Succor Creek, though, which felt like a place where it would have been nice to stay forever, I was definitely ready to move on Sunday morning. The springs were great, but the campground was hot and dry and sort of bleak and there’s only so much soaking in hot water one can do. Plus, we were headed back to Bend and both S and I were looking forward to all the fun we were going to have there. Well, the fun and the good things to eat!