In the fall of 2011, I rode to Gerlach, NV to attend a motorcycle get-together of long-distance motorcyclists. During the weekend I rode north of Gerlach on Nevada SR-34 past the turn-off to Soldier Meadows and up to Fly Geyser, an amazing site I'd visited twice before in the mid-90's. Once when it was a bonus in the last Black Rock Desert GS Rally, put on by Jan, Steve and Kai of (then) Reno BMW, and once when two of my friends got married, and we drove up there from Reno to soak in the large pool of warm water.
By the time I wanted to visit again, it was no longer open to the public. But the caretaker of the property often had breakfast on Saturday mornings at Bruno's in Gerlach, and I caught him there once and asked for permission to visit a 3rd time, which was conditionally granted.
However, I wasn't able to make it back to the springs that year, so this year I finally made my 3rd (and probably final) visit — as it is now firmly "off limits" to the public, unless you want to pay $1,000/day for limited access (that's according to a Google search).
I parked at the gate, and shouted at the trailer parked there (out of sight to the right in this photo), but nobody answered. Figuring I still had a "free pass", I climbed over the gate and knocked on the trailer door. Nobody home. So I hiked the 1/4 mile or so to the geyser.
The first geyser is this small one, about 4' tall or so, visible just north of the dirt road into Fly Geyser. Very symmetrical, very cool!
The geyser came about when a well, dug in 1916 or so, got corroded by a natural hot springs in the 60's and started spewing hot mineral water into the well, which eventually produced the formation shown in the photos below. It's much bigger now than it was 15 years ago!
Looking north towards what I think is the original geyser (now defunct).
Just as the road turns north, you see Fly Geyser to the east. It's visible from SR-34 if you know where to look. The plumes of water and vapor make it easier to spot.
Fly Geyser, September, 2011. The pictures can speak for themselves...
"Frog Hot Springs", east of Fly Geyser on the other side of the Playa, just off Jungo Road. A warm but not hot springs. Easy to get to, but also, I believe, on private property. George and his grand-daughter and a "Burner" (one of the Burning Man clean-up crew on his day off) were already enjoying it when I arrived. They had beer!
A really big red dragonfly. Lots of frogs about, too...
Another pool (a different temperature one), and George's KTM and my BMW.
George's grand-daughter participating in a tradition of the event, a Saturday night bonfire on the Playa to honor and remember those of us who passed on in the previous year. The "newbies" must walk across the fire. George's granddaughter didn't even have to do it, but she did it first and with style.
Chris(?) the crazy Irishman who certainly would have won the long-distance travel award had there been one, first walked the fire, then decided he should do a jig, which he did — major style points! How many thousand miles would you travel to party with some friends then turn around and go home?
Motorcyclists make the best family members you can imagine...
Copyright © 2011, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.