The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. – Rumi.
The drive up Castle Hot Springs Road is our typical weekend jaunt. It is the road to Scorpion Bay Marina on Lake Pleasant, our watering hole, if you will, during spring and summer. Along the way we enjoy hillsides dotted with blooming Saguaro, splashes of color with ocotillo, and the occasional wild burro. The trickling of boaters ahead confirms that spring has sprung in the desert and the lake is where we will find that welcome reprieve from the rising temperatures.
Today, with our boat on a hiatus, we continue north in search of Castle Hot Springs. A few miles up we enter an unpaved portion of the road, driving past scenic overlooks, and signs cautioning us of rain filled washes and flash floods. That would not be the case today, so we continue on delighted that the burros seem to lead the way.
Castle Hot Springs is located in the foothills of the Bradshaw Mountains, north of Lake Pleasant, Arizona, and 14 miles from Carefree Hwy. We had driven past here a few years ago never knowing what we had stumbled across, but astonished by its whereabouts in the desert. What we did know was palm trees look pretty awkward in the middle of a desert, and at one time this place must have been something pretty grand.
Research tells of a magical place with healing powers and echos of the past. Native Americans used it as a sacred healing place, and rumors of the springs in the late 1800’s boasted of an oasis Out West. Notable visitors include the Rockefellers, Wrigleys, and the Kennedys, but it was also used for soldiers recovering from injuries sustained in WWII.
A fire in 1976 burned the resort and since then it has sat idle with memories tucked in the walls of the remaining structures. Rivulets of the hot springs carry stories of the rich and famous and a look through the locked gate feels like a walk back in time. While it adds to the ambience and ignites curiosity, the coolness factor mimics that of Arizona’s ghost towns, hidden caves, and cliff dwellings. I so want to keep it a secret and yet the stories and legends need to be told.
Deserts conceal some of the most beautiful oases.
Today our trek tells the story of a healing and recovery we didn’t expect. In 2014 the property was purchased and it will reopen in October 2018, under new ownership. The story will be told…again… and our watering hole will once again lure those looking for a place to mend the body and ….refresh the soul.
Look for Part II of Castle Hot Springs later this year.
Wind Kisses, Donna