Hot Springs

Tristan and I went on a delightful little adventure the other day.

I am so incredibly spoiled. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have access to stunningly gorgeous nature whenever I want it. We decided to try to find Terwilliger (Cougar) Hot Springs, which are about an hour east of Eugene.


This is the view into Cougar Reservoir. The reservoir was pretty low, but we were also pretty high up. There was a little bit of snow on the side of the road, which made me ask Tristan if he really expected me to get naked in the woods at this time of year. He reminded me that it was my fool idea in the first place.
We hiked in, past some shady looking characters who were helpful in pointing toward the large column of steam that probably should have indicated the location of the hot springs, now that I think about it.

The springs are absolutely gorgeous.


We were lucky, we had pools all to ourselves when we got there. An older couple were just putting on their shoes when we arrived, and I stood around awkwardly for about 15 minutes before realizing that they had no intention of leaving anytime soon. Tristan, who has no problem with public nudity was not particularly understanding. I had my emergency swimsuit at the bottom of my bag, just in case, but I was a brave little toaster, and found a corner of the pool that was not in the direct sight line of two middle aged, fully clothed strangers and slipped into the hot spring, where, at least I was dressed in water. Tristan, of course, happily disrobed right next to the men, chatting about god knows what and merrily bounced himself down the stairs. He is infuriatingly self-confident.


This is the top pool, of four. It’s the deepest and also the hottest, being, obviously, the closest to the spring. It’s usually very hot, but for us it was just warm. It soon became clear why, as it started to hail. As Tristan pointed out, “Water cools down when you dump a bunch of ice in it.” The hail was actually really fun. It bounced off all the rocks and got in our hair.

We got to the springs pretty late in the day, around 4, and assumed that we would be the last ones there, since they supposedly close at dusk. Apparently nobody follows any of the rules, (which are no smoking, alcohol, glass containers or lewd behavior, which we saw all of, except the last one), because people were arriving pretty steadily as it moved into evening. The first person besides us was a friendly guy who brought a whole papaya to eat in the pool, which was unusual, but he offered us a piece, and it was delicious.


I think we will be coming here often this spring. I was sad to leave the gloriousness of Santa Cruz, but there is so much beauty here also. I am so excited to discover more of the hidden gems of Central Oregon.

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