News & Op-Eds, continued
(For vintage article on current 'ownership', scroll down past end of editorial, about two thirds the way)
and body freedom issues brought to the fore
with banning of
clothing-optional in 2016
(clickhere for beginning of editorial)
Some of the writings here, while dated, done years before shutting the bathhouse and the new 'owners' showed their true murky colors, still provide food for thought. They are relevant in envisioning and brainstorming a positive future for the Springs -- beyond the current abysmal stranglehold of place.
As a result of the shockingly inappropriate 'ownership' changes in Stewart Mineral springs operation, critically including forbidding mindful nudity in the course of one's spa outside the private tub, the health and freedom-minded lifestyles of untold hundreds of locals and regionals and thousands more on the national and global levels have been sorely compromised for years now.
Many repeat visitors from far beyond the area and overseas, some only familiar with Stewart's -- over time, this website's been viewed by Chinese, Czechs, Spaniards, Japanese, Canadians, Russians, Germans, British and French -- were no doubt stunned and dismayed. They'd nowhere to go to enjoy their accustomed quasi-bohemian, Euro-style spa resort experience while touring U.S.'s West Coast. (Harbin re-opened, but some always preferred Stewart's more intimate scale, setting, and general lack of the former's Bay-Area influenced, sometimes bold and lascivious air.
Of course, such radical body freedom was only one component of the Stewart Springs experience. But it was a vital one. Some might even say it served as the linchpin. One that, for all open-minded, free-spirited visitors, enhanced all the others -- like the place's spectacular depth in nature, healing waters, rare vortex energy, historic rustic ambiance -- to a profound, almost supernatural level.
Some (like writer) first gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking the new absentee stewards (yes, an absurd oxymoron) were not intentionally trying to alienate customer base, but were simply clueless, unaware how such an action would spark a firestorm of adverse reaction from the sea of faithful supporters.
During their dubious course of management, doggedly intent in trying to convert the place to suit their own super-structured, buttoned-down, quasi-new-age shtick, the thinking might've been that, being in a seller's market business, they would naturally continue to thrive, tapping a boundless mainstream/upscale market. And it would grow despite -- or even because of such a radical shift in operation...which, after all, was (from their possible viewpoint) only upsetting a few low-spending, kinky locals. Ones that, truth be told, were no longer wanted as patrons.
If a more upscale or mainstream client base never manifests -- it seems trey unlikely since the rash call to end spa and massage service -- the new 'owners' might indeed find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
For while they had gotten rid of the once-loyal bohemian support base, they hadn't attracted enough visitors of other persuasions...maybe, assuming wanting to go essentially private, not even enough gung-ho on Pneuma's convoluted formula for achieving enlightenment through long pricey workshops, retreats and two-year certification programs, or enough select outside group willing to accept their strict, limited scene and drink the kool-aid.
And even in the unlikely event they ever DO gain viable traction, despite shuttering bathhouse and closing down the historic heart and soul of the place, one salient fact would forever dog the outfit: a new customer base -- or exclusive private use, even -- built over the intentional destruction of long-established, free-spirited popular culture would forever brand the outfit negatively for their reckless, spirit-crushing usurpation of the globally popular establishment.
Every day would serve as a tragic reminder of the outfit's shocking betrayal of place's one-time long-nurtured, cooperative air. It'd be more than a tad self-defeating (and detached from reality) to advance its purported overarching aim, to raise global consciousness, over the very ruins of the place's long-established and beloved earth-friendly healing and rejuvenating culture.
'Ownership's' board of directors reportedly even wanted to enact the momentous c/o ban a half year before they actually did, in the summer of 2016. According to outgoing manager (whose veracity was at times suspect), they were persuaded to hold off until November.
If true, maybe it was only out of consideration of long-standing bookings, made before the 'owner' change, wanting to avoid massive cancellations and livid fallout from open-minded (vs. clothes-minded) bookers, who might've shon up unaware of drastic policy change and raise a stink.
Maybe, too, the thinking was there might be a riot if day visitors, long accustomed to the nudity option, were, on one sultry 90-degree day, abruptly told, "Sorry, you've gotta cover up now. No more nudity for you. Please cover up; don't make this awkward for us. We'll appreciate your understanding and cooperation. Tell your friends!"
Yeah, that would've worked.
Easier to spring it when it was too cold for going bare outdoors for any but all the bravehearts long accustomed to making accustomed heroic icy plunges in the freezing creek waters.
They couldn't be persuaded to allow even a clothing-optional one day a week for the legion of more freespirited long-term fans -- local, national, and international -- who'd long supported and revered the place and far preferred enjoying it au natural...or were at least okay with it so long as the body-liberated scene was kept on the chill side.
Again, the new policy was possibly triggered over the shock of a doubtful story of some visitor playing with self on the deck in 2016. On the very off-chance this actually WAS true, then outgoing manager no doubt saw a golden opportunity to sound the red alert to the new 'absentee owners', prompting a fast, draconian ban.
An alternate explanation circulating among staff was the new 'ownership' group itself -- or their wives -- who frequented place for retreats over the years, being socially conservative, even fundamentalist, had been sorely put off by place's permitted nudity. And so maybe the manager fabricated the story out of whole cloth, on the fly, just to make getting rid of the naked people an absolute slam dunk.
However it came down, it's all so sad...and more than a tad ironic in light of Pneuma's transpersonal psychology branch having historic roots in the human potential movement, which had, quite prominently, included guided nude group-therapy workshops in the late 1960s, held in such places as Esalan, at Big Sur, California.
Getting renewed in
the nude eschewed
Stewart Springs has a long history of flip-flopping on the policy, perhaps its equivocating stance reflecting that of society.
Verboten until theGoodpastures took the helm in the 1970s, it was again banned during the first half of Foggy's ownership in the 1980s and 1990s, except for the option of a brief, chaste nude dip in waterm with immediate re-covering on emerging...that is, without risking censure by management and disapproving stares of others, affronted by such immodest displays and husbands' instant riveted interest.
Then the body-oppressive mandatory cover-up policy vanished in the year 2000...almost as if to celebrate the new millennium with a new-found enlightened transparency and boldness of spirit -- see When Body Freedom Returned to Stewart Springs -- and wouldn't make its dread reappearance until late 2016.
It had suddenly allowed nudity in the sauna, outer sundeck, and creek's cold plunge area, while still requiring covering in halls, lobby, and inner sundeck by bathhouse door. It was a compromise hammered out to try accommodating everyone's lifestyle as best possible. Though at times it felt unwieldy and even arbitrary, it worked. more-or-less, making the place more inclusive of varied visitor backgrounds and, many felt, it becoming far more healing, uplifting, and rejuvenating resort for it. see History
To bare or not to bare...
Granted, allowing clothing-optional is a ticklish call for any rural mineral springs resort.
Does one provide a place where people in a perma-dressed world have the rare option to get free of unnecessary coverings in a natural sheltered environment and enjoy an enhanced state being among kindred spirits while more effectively cleansing and purifying... in the process regaining/reinforcing the
positive body acceptance of toddlers, one that was perhaps thought forever lost? But at the risk of such radical departure from deep-entrenched social norms potentially causing unsavory scenes and misbehavior if not keeping an ever-vigilant, mindful handle on things?
Or does one try to avoid causing vague to intolerable discomfort by the many either being in seeming denial of human biologic reality or who simply prefer to keep covered out of modesty and/or to avoid unwanted attention -- or simply not wanting to awaken from oppressive, conventional-behavior-conditioned dream -- and so insist it's not unreasonable to demand that EVERYONE keep covered during all public portions of one's spa regimen, by God...even in the bohemian stronghold of northern California, secluded amidst gentle nature, which on exotic 90 degree days could beg to be more fully enjoyed through lighthearted skinnydipping, nude sunbathing and cloth-liberated sauna-ing?
It can be a thorny call either way, IF not handled sensitively.
If opting to ban nudity, ignored or dismissed or dully accepted is the extreme discomfort it causes would-be freebodies, who are far more sensorily in tune than the numbed-out, perma-dressed and forever foot-shod... suddenly forced to keep wrapped up in constrictive man-made, sensory dampening cloth that prevent any fuller attunement to the natural elements. Elements that can magically expedite and enhance a spa regimen's purifying and rejuvenating potential.
Of course, as a result of Stewart Springs' hybrid, 'cool here, not cool there' policy, it was, on one important level, neither fish nor fowl.
For though it had become tenuously, kinda-sorta c/o, it was never a full-fledged nude-friendly spa retreat, one merrily joining others in the regional sisterhood of rural mineral spring resorts. This was at least in part due to the lack of any planned freebody zones, the place having had such an abysmally long tradition of fostering the perma-wrapped mindset. Clothed visitors and often body-freedom indifferent workers striding by tubrooms and into sauna and out onto deck and down to creekside put a decided damper in any more would-be freebody enjoyment and relaxation.
The naturist philosophy holds that the right of those choosing to be mindfully nude in appropriate environments outweighs the right of those made uncomfortable for being around such nudity.
While no honest and rational thinker can credibly deny that the healing process of a spa resort -- whether upscale or rustic -- can unfold more easily when partakers can opt to get 100% free of textile covering (after all, again, who bathes with their clothes on?), such places can still feel the need to ban nudity. They continue kow-towing to society's prevailing age-old body alienation. They cling to threadbare cultural and religious beliefs, oblivious to the critical need to allow body freedom in a enlightened, fair-minded way in order to more readily facilitate healing...possibly fearful that business volume would drop off the cliff if allowing it.
And be condemned by the morality police, possibly along with the ownership's associates, family and friends.
Again, ever since 2000 Stewart Springs wobbled between the two camps. Effort to try accommodating everyone -- Sunday nudists, dyed-in-the-wool freebodies, textile junkies and relative nude-phobics alike -- as fairly as possible could sometimes feel like an exercise in futility. Both would-be nudists and bare-notters were left grumbling around edges over such a awkward checkerboard of "Okay here, not okay there" freebody zones.
At the time it must've struck the manager and owner (writer had zero say) as the most doable compromise at the time, given the layout of the bathhouse and rich diversity of visitor lifestyles. And would've worked better, given a more active, mindful support of later management, rather than hands-off, passive suffering of distasteful policy they felt saddled with from previous management with 'owner' approval, the natural result for the Springs never having been more of a genuine clothing-optional resort like the wider region's most popular mineral springs.
Going to the extreme of No Nudity PERIOD created a torrent of adverse reaction from what the 'owners' may not have realized (or did but didn't give a flying leap) was a significant portion of place's devotees and its off-season, backbone support...
...one, again, that included many comfortable with the clothing-option even if passing on it themselves. To repeat (at the risk of sounding like a stuck record), they no doubt sensed that such body freedom -- besides creating a more relaxed atmosphere conducive to deep purification, letting go, and rejuvenation -- enabled individuals to develop positive body acceptance and experience a sense of giddy physical liberation after a lifetime of mandated public body oppression.
All sorts of people over time have realized that it could easily make for fast-tracking the re-integration of body, mind and spirit to profoundly higher levels.
So no longer accommodating the far-flung base of nude-opting visitors marked a dumbfoundingly wrongheaded turn of events, the worst since Stewart Springs closed its gates to the general public for years during the mid 1980s for want of business and absentee 'owner' s inability to find suitable management.
Its former policy -- though, again, at times awkward and seemingly arbitrary -- had enabled untold thousands the world over to maximize the healing benefits of the spa regimen while gaining/reinforcing a generous measure of positive body acceptance. No one was left out...except perhaps the duly freaking champions of false modesty, the dues-paying members of the Always Keep It All Hid Society, and, in extreme cases, your gymnophobiac -- those having an actual, pathological fear of nudity...their own and/or that of others.
It can't be stressed enough: having the option to be mindfully clothesfree, alone or among others, amid the harmony of nature, during a relaxing spa regimen was a rare therapeutic and often liberating experience.
It's one that helped distinguish Stewart's as a progressive-minded retreat haven, championing, albeit ever so tenuously, a policy support-worthy in our neurotically perma-dressed world. Result: life-changing liberation from crippling body shame -- dammed up forces preventing radical body acceptance suddenly bursting free -- quickly enabling one to experience the re-integration of body-mind-spirit on higher levels.
Changing Room Chaos?
One wrinkle in the changing policy maybe not considered was the place's ridiculously tiny changing room. It had long served as a co-ed changing area -- not well, but served. It was an impossibly small and narrow space, with a side bank of cubbies and two curtained nooks in the back.
On busy days there could be over half a dozen visitors wanting to change at once, plus others wanting to access stashed belongings. No practical places for separate men's and women's changing rooms existed in bathhouse, short of maybe sacrificing the employee break room, unused juice bar or a tubroom.
As things stood, chaos and frustration -- making for decidedly unsettling energy, non-conducive to the meditative calm desired in a place ostensibly dedicated to purifying, healing and relaxing -- would result if 'owners' didn't relent and work out a more reasonable, realistic, doable c/o compromise. (But hey, with Covid concerns supposedly prompting permanent bathhouse closure, problem solved.)
Before the policy liberalized, two current tub rooms, #2 and 3, were changing rooms -- no tubs then -- spaces with actual doors, far better in accommodating changers while preserving modesty by gender, though rooms weren't separated except by curtain and doors never designated 'men' and 'women.'
Would You Bathe
With Your Clothes On?
Another matter: the dress code at creek's cold plunge. Unless allowed to briefly skinnydip, as they did formerly, even during otherwise no-nudity-allowed years, pure misery was the downer result. It let the genie half-way out of the bottle and then stall out.
It was just too weird expecting visitors to awkwardly keep on cold wet sheets, towels, or sarongs and walk around in drenched cloth. It severely crimped the ability to fully relax the body in order to cleanse, heal and rejuvenate.
In cold weather, it was sheer torture.
Then there was the safety concern. One's coming out of the coldplunge in winter with sheet on and navigating often slippery stone steps was made more difficult and accident-prone for being so encumbered with suddenly heavy, more binding, drenched cloth that one became more concerned about preventing a dread wardrobe malfunction than safely navigating out the plunge while the body was reeling from the cold shock. It detracted crucial focus from avoiding missteps or losing traction on the sometimes slippery rocks and resulted in more than one injury.
Again, even though nudity was banned before 2000 under Foggy, the exception was made for the actual creek plunge, making the recent policy the most restrictive in almost a half century.
A Respite from the
Tyranny of Cloth
What better way was there to integrate the physical, psychological and spiritual sides of an individual onto a new, higher level -- one of the supposed primary aims of one of the new owners' affiliates, Inkarri -- than by experiencing precious mindful body freedom during spa therapy in a delightfully natural environs?
There's a dumbfoundingly strange disconnect in thinking there somewhere.
Again, in our depressingly overdressed world, being even briefly liberated from mandatory cover-up and the tyranny of cloth at places like mineral springs can work wonders. It easily allows for dramatic breakthroughs in positive body acceptance and physical liberation, enabling advancing one's spiritual journey for feeling happier in one's skin.
Because we are still in such a dominant cover-up obsessed world, many felt the only realistic and fair solution to avoid excluding anyone's druthers would be to strike a compromise at the Springs...
...a fair balance for visitors of either inclination. Such thinking of course assumed, perhaps erroneously, that 'owners' had hoped to broaden the diversity of its customer base -- rather than narrow it to more conventional-minded mainstream, or possibly even privatize grounds.
Granted, the checkerboard of clothing-optional zones could be cumbersome and confusing. For, especially if one was new to the place, it was weird having to wrap up to only go the few feet from tub to sauna...lest one appear to be streaking between okay points.
It detracted from any easier energy flow. But, given the condensed bathhouse set up and its diverse visitorship, it was, again, possible the best possible compromise, and might've yet remained so under the new owners,
should they've ever miraculously had change of heart...or, back to reality, under future appropriate new stewards who, with perennial Stewart fans' collective visualization, will someday arrive like the cavalry to Fort Stewart, rescuing the place from the fiery perdition of hide-bound morality and the moneyed meddlers' bold seizure of the long-time, egalitarian-minded retreat.
Launch Clothing Optional Days?
Sister mineral springs Jackson Wellsprings, just north of Ashland, OR, faced the same issue. They resolved it by striking a compromise and making hours from evening on clothing-optional and adults only, and one evening a week women only. This works well for them since they were open til midnight, at least pre-Covid, to serve a much larger, nearby population (plus travel base, being less than a mile off of Interstate-5.)
Had the current 'owners' grasped the merit in establishing more inclusive and enlightened policy, rather than trying to make place over to lah-de-dah, upscale hideaway for own, quasi new-age-y shtick, pricing out and lifestyling out most fans, Stewart's might've finally integrated and fine-tuned its policy...and at last joined wider region's fraternity of sister springs, making mindful-nudity option the relative non-issue it deserves to be.
But tearing out tubs in bathhouse and repurposing building showed that all along they had zero intention of ever serving the public in any dedicated spa capacity...that, instead, they held misguided long-range plans to overhaul the entire realm to serve as an semi-exclusive compound for their own use, possibly with spa-indifferent visitors subsidizing the scene through simple lodging and workshops/retreat organizers, who, again, could accept the absurdly restrictive scene.
'Owners', if not having such deep pockets they can weather the place as a perpetual money pit, will in time see the giant-lettered writing on the wall and give up their inappropriate use of the sanctuary land, relocate, and put it back on the market.
For even if they DO manage to build up a solid new customer base -- or are, in fact, hell-bent in trying to privatize the place outright, they will in time no doubt be made painfully aware of the veritable Mount Everest of bad karma they've created.
Are they conscious enough to eventually try to redeem themselves, chalking it up to experience and letting go of the place they'd coveted to become their own, and seek out more appropriate stewards...thus assuring themselves at the last an ultimate positive place in realm's legacy?
That's the big question.
If every fan of place visualizes them waking up to what a self-defeating disaster they've created for themselves and resolving to make up for it by finding progressive-minded steward(s) to shepherd the Springs back to serving as a genuine spa and retreat, becoming at long last a nonprofit healing and rejuvenating resting place for mindful wellness-seeking, nature-loving peoples everywhere...
...THEN Stewart Springs might regain and build further on its former renown as a modest rustic bohemian healing spa resort...one once again open to the public to serve the greater good, more than ever in full resonance with the Mount Shasta region's culture, its global fan base, and the wild waters forever flowing through the realm.
Writer Ward served as SMS volunteer assistant manager 2000-2002 under Mary H. while living on grounds. He created and maintained the cold plunge for 14 years, and has self-published works covering body acceptance and body freedom that were inspired by his own liberating experiences at Springs.
First in 34 Years
by Stu Ward
August 1, 2016
December 2017 note: Eighteen months after penning this, writer realized he had the wool pulled over his eyes. I'd naively hoped new 'ownership' would make everything right once 12-year old manager Rowena P., lingering vestige of 34-year, profit-driven Foggy reign, was at last out of picture.
Didn't realize they were apparently on same page in many ways. They seemed to resonate with her vision of "Refining the Culture" by working to overhaul visitor base to build a more "respectable" clientele, one reflecting their own buttoned-down, well-insulated lifestyles, while supporting the place's doubling as far-flung outfit's headquarters...maybe, as some suspect, privatizing it outright in time (in their dreams) for their groups' own exclusive use.
In any event, they made it clear long before permanently closing spa service that they no longer wanted to deal with bohemian-minded and alternative-culture energies, which -- duh -- ALWAYS gravitate to alternative-healing, bohemian-minded spas, like Stewart's had been for nearly a century and a half -- until they legally seized it from the public.
Rather than try to update the article, writer let it stand with a few changes...like the clothing-optional ban that took effect three months after first posting this. Consider it a testament to how easily one can get snookered if naively taking people's stated intentions at face value, via their vague, posted infomercial sizzle.
Some 34 years after last legal owner, John Foggy, essentially inherited the springs from the previous 'owner', after an investment loan default, and did the best he could with the wayward healing retreat with which he at times seemed to have little resonance, beyond it being an offbeat income generator, Stewart Mineral Springs at last sold to new owners on January 19, 2016.
In happy contrast, the new ownership, though also absentee, is at least semi-involved in the spiritual field.
Members of Inkarri Cultural Association, along with affiliated Pnenuma Foundation,
turned onto the place years ago during repeat workshop retreats. They'd stayed at various mineral spring resorts in the wider region for their periodic retreats, always looking for one to call their home base.
Among other things, they're into Inca shamanism and providing support to Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and Q'ero Nation in Peru. Their Pneuma System "seeks to integrate spiritual, psychological, and physical aspects of the individual" and "centers on transpersonal experience as a powerful method leading to inner transformation." Aim: "...to deepen our experience of the Sacred, both within and without of ourselves and thus learn to live our life with increasingly deeper awareness and clarity."
Sounds like a good fit. To further quote their site:
"Inkarri is a Quechua word that means morning sun, a symbol of spiritual awakening at the dawn of a new era. The word Inkarri also alludes to an Incan myth, where the son of the Sun, an enlightened being, will come in the future to assist humanity and restore harmony on the planet. This correlates with other mythologies and prophesies within many cultures, such as the Tibetan culture, which makes reference to the Buddha Maitreya as the Buddha of the Future."
Founder of California's popular, small Cafe Gratitude restaurant chain, Mathew Engelhart, was briefly a new 'co-owner', but since sold his interest. (One can only wonder why...) Owners formed a corporation with a board of directors, each member having a financial stake.
(On a weird side note, for legal purposes Stewart Mineral Springs is now on record as Golden Eagle Resort. Last steward didn't legally register name Stewart Mineral Springs in time and someone else snagged it and has been holding the name ransom ever since. Was easier re-naming place, if only for legal purposes, than pay an extortionate fee to buy it back. Apparently the concern, in the Bay Area, began weirdly touting some obscure operation there as Stewart Mineral Springs; hopefully few were mislead into thinking place had actually somehow branched or changed locations -- as if it could.)
While living even more distant -- as far away as L.A., Mexico, even South America (and one thought former owner location in S.F. was far) -- the new 'ownership' will no doubt over time work to prioritize projects and shape policies for management to fulfill that reflect evolving hopes and aspirations for the place once they become better acquainted with its long history and honored traditions.
One of Inkarri's stated goals is "To promote profound personal transformation". Since recently banned optional mindful nudity during spa regimen can so easily and dramatically promote this, it's hoped that any day new owners will connect dots, reconsider, and let management bring Springs back
into resonance with former glory as down-home, spiritually-grounded rustic healing retreat...one liberal-minded enough to permit modest measure of mindful nudity...one that the dedicated Stewart family manifested and ran for nearly 80 years, from 1876 to 1954, though not clothing-optional; and Goodpasture family ownership through 1970s and Foggy ownership's last 16 years, from 2000 through 2016, when happily it was. see history
Co-manager couple Ted and Rowena held ten-year contract with former 'owner' Foggy that expired at the end of 2016. New, younger management was groomed by outgoing general manager Rowena and have now nominally taken the helm. [later note: She decided to stay on to work in background management capacity, coordinating visitor groups and in fact remained senior business manager;
her lingering involvement continued to shape and enforce new policies as directed by new 'ownership', almost entirely by remote, through November 2017].
On a sad note, husband and co-manager Ted passed away late October 2015, at age 65. He'd been diagnosed with late-stage liver disease somewhere around beginning of tenure in 2006. He dedicated his remaining years to evolving Springs infrastructure as approved or directed by Foggy, initiating many notable improvements and repairs visible throughout the grounds. A firm believer in Spring water's healing properties, regular soakings very likely extended his life for many years before liver failure at last claimed him.
To former 'owner' John Foggy's everlasting credit, he saw the wisdom of keeping the rustic charm of place intact, thus keeping it unique among northwest's rural mineral springs resorts, delighting visitors with its quaint summer camp feel...and was liberal-minded enough to allow clothing-optional during the second half of his 'ownership' (if perhaps only because it helped send business volume through the roof).That he sometimes let the place's upkeep slide towards rack and ruin is now ancient history, forgiven especially since he plowed so much back in during the final years.
Fly in Ointment
Word from old manager is new 'owners' are basically happy with the way place is. They're reportedly open to fine-tuning operation through management and staff directives, based on popular visitor feedback.
Alas, this included many supposedly complaining to the outgoing manager about how much they were turned off by the 18-year clothing-optional policy. Based on what's suspected an exaggerated, or even outright fabricated, report of isolated incident of some old man publicly jacking off on the sundeck in 2016, owners decided to end the tradition of body freedom at the Springs. Cover-up became required everywhere outside the tubroom and shower stalls. (see above editorial; also home-page story, editorial sidebar and SMS Facebook feedback in Rants & Raves)
Barring this one not-so-little wrinkle for anyone treasuring the place's Euro-style tradition of permitting simple nudity in appropriate areas for maximum spa benefit and enjoyment, Stewart Springs, after one long, uber-strange trip, now hopefully appears to be in more appropriate hands.
Two indications: The first thing 'owners' did was raise everyone's wages (albeit raising admission to cover). [...or thought they did; apparently it was only management positions, while workers were still sweating away at minimum wage.] And they committed to pouring every cent of profit during first two years back into the place. Among other things, this enabled new manager Josh W. to get a decent heavy-duty work truck for the grounds.
If the new 'ownership' in time relents, appreciating how a clothing-optional ban holds back the place's deeper transformative potential for visitors, then new management, with the support of staff and so-minded regulars, can work to elevate c/o policy to more conscious, respectable one, prompting dutiful compliance by visitors. In time, c/o could become the relative non-issue it is at other popular regional rural spring resorts.
Then the Springs might then at long last be freed to soar like an eagle to lofty new heights as a beloved healing and rejuvenation center and workshop/event retreat.
Whatever side of c/o issue visitors fall in on, all who revere place no doubt wish all the involved parties well with their new stewardship.
(Most recent postings first)
March 20, 2015
With sporadic on-going work-trade efforts, creek coldplunge, new tarp liner installed, gaining needed depth - now up to four feet or so off stone steps in.
Just in time for spring equinox.
March 8, 2015
New Clawfoot Tub
Bathtub room 7 next to sauna, offline for month or two, now back online with new clawfoot.
March 1, 2015
Sauna Wood Refinished
During annual work session last Monday thru Thursday, caretaker Russell sanded off old finish of sauna's floor, benches, wall and ceiling and re-coated with linseed oil, made from flax seed. While oil coating is natural, it still makes for fumes that any chemically sensitive (like writer, who it made nauseous after while) might react to until it's finished outgassing.
Original coating, applied when new sauna built, used woefully inappropriate, toxic outdoor deck coating, which noxious outgassing left anyone at all sensitive gagging. Some were unable to use sauna for over month or two without getting headaches or becoming nauseous.
New finish makes wood bit darker, lending more womb-like atmosphere to sauna. Can't resist: new finish makes sauna more...Finnish.
February 21, 2015
New cold plunge maintainer
Frequent visitor Mario of Lake Shastina has taken on chilly job of rebuilding Springs' cold plunge from moi. Plunge is distressed since big rainstorm created creek rampage that severely damaged it. Breached rock wall is once again repaired -- challenging six hour labor -- making it once again safe to dip in the creek. Mario wears wet suit to stay relatively warm in 43 degree waters.
Work-trader, he could always use help. Challenge now, as always, is to deepen creek floor by removing rock and gravel, slow process, as well as heighten rock wall, to try to bring plunge back to at least waist depth, rather than current knee depth that can make easy plunging a bit iffy.
The deal for workers: one free bath for every earnest hour of work. See operations manager Josh if interested.
Writer had to step down after over-ambitious rock moving resulted in hernia. started first, recent cold plunge pool in 1999 and built it up and maintained it 14 years as labor of love.
December 17, 2014
Work Traders Needed to Repair Cold Plunge
Heavy rains and resulting flooding of creek last week threatened to destroy the cold-plunge dam. Water level was almost up to base of angel on the island. While dam managed to hold, it did wash away top layer of rocks that covered now exposed brown and blue tarps and, worse, filled up so much of plunge with rocks and gravel depth is under knee height, making immersing a bit more laborious.
Once writer's longtime bailiwick, health issues no longer permit lifting heavy rocks. New work traders with strong backs -- and maybe wetsuits, including booties and gloves, for working in 46 degree water -- are needed to repair plunge to former depth.
Deal: one free bath/two saunas for every hour of work. if you know of someone that might be, spread the word. Contact Josh for details.
Sept. 21, 2014
Weed Fire Aid
The Springs, along with other local motels, helped ease a tragic situation created by the nearby Weed's fire disaster by comping all its unrented accommodations for Weed's suddenly homeless.
The office desk accepted donations to help one single mom of four who lost her home in the hard-hit Angel Valley neighborhood on north side of town.
Mendera, indefatigable builder, crosses over
Mendera, who dedicated last two years of his life making substantial improvements to the Springs he loved, left us April 2nd, 2013. Work was inspired by his belief region was possibly the site of original Garden of Eden.
Among his many accomplishments, usually done along with dedicated Mexican work crew led by foreman Jesus, were re-building car bridge, building new twin bathhouse showers, replacing bathhouse floor, enlarging conference hall deck, replacing A-frame upper deck, zenning out landscape all around bathhouse, building new foot bridge across creek below conference hall...
His last -- and in some ways greatest -- service was saving the day when late 2012 deluge's aftermath (see below), changed creek flow and threatened bathhouse and stairway. He directed earth-moving equipment to shore up banks plus had placed huge foundation boulders for new cold plunge.
Such ceaseless work efforts built up improvement momentum that continues apace with current groundskeepers.
His presence is missed.
A powerful late autumn rainstorm sent a raging torrent down the creek and wiped out old cold plunge of 14 years, threatening to take bathhouse stairway as well but for emergency efforts.
Flood was a double whammy: heavy warm rains served to melt heavy snowpack that then fed into creek. adding to water rampage.
Creek island accessed by plank bridge was partly washed away as well. Its angel statue, however, weathered deluge unscathed. The walking plank itself was retrieved far downstream by four workers hoisting and toting heavy sodden timber a hundred yards and wrestling it back into place, working in near-freezing waters.
New plunge was hastily built up by work traders and help of Jesus's crew the following spring and summer. Unfortunately, rooted rocks on plunge bottom couldn't be budged, making for trickier footing once in the water. On plus side, it's just as deep as old one, and steps leading in, built by Kierra, have never been so zen.
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