Sacramento June 2016 : Page 51

Wilbur Hot Springs T R AV E L Taking the Waters A Sacramento native with a long history of the good hot soak visits three springs just to our north. he four miles of chalky gravel road that meander alongside Bear Creek and lush hills of wild lupines and golden poppies end at a tan, somewhat foreboding iron gate before you enter WILBUR HOT SPRINGS . My car was drenched in dust, I noticed as I stepped out, and earlier, too, as I’d stopped along the road to take in the tranquil views. Bear Creek was bustling with a current, thanks to recent rains; striking tamarisk trees in bountiful bloom stood sentry along the creek banks, willowy in the light wind. With such a dreamy landscape, I shrugged my shoulders at the thick dust now coating my car. It seemed the least of my concerns as I drove onward and parked in front of Wilbur’s offices, eager to finish the guest registration and head for the waters. This was my third visit in as many years, which says quite a bit. The truth is, I’m not the kind of traveler who returns to places often. That said, as a native Californian who spent nearly two decades living in northern Europe (and moved back to Sacramento two years ago), I have become well acquainted with all things hot T BY ELIZABETH ZACH springs, actively seeking them out THREE NORTHERN in their many forms. In Germany, CALIFORNIA HOT SPRINGS where I lived, I found hot springs, Q Orr Hot Springs Resort, 13201  along with sauna visits, to be an Orr Springs Road, Ukiah; (707)  462-6277; integral part of surviving the Q Wilbur Hot Springs, 3375 Wil-long, dark winters, and I eventu-bur Springs Road, Williams; (530)  ally reserved one evening a week 473-2306; for sweating and soaking. Q Vichy Springs Resort, 2605  Those years abroad, I found Vichy Springs Road, Ukiah; (707)  elaborate thermal pools of vary-462-9515; ing temperatures and mineral content alongside vast lakes north and south of Berlin. In Budapest, I visited springs with ornate statues and mosaics of Greek gods, and granite pillars topped with waterproof chess boards where wizened men in Speedos and swim caps hunched pensively over their games. Near New Mexico’s Mora Valley a few years ago, I found a cluster of hot springs by hopping the fence along a country byway and bush-June 2016   SACRAMENTO MAGAZINE   51 Trinette Reed & Chris Gramley

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