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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind


By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 7/22/2024
Posted: 8/22/2007
Page Views: 1549
Topics: #McCredieHotSprings #Travel
Sometimes, the need to get away from it all can be overwhelming.

I'm one of those people—I assume not the only one!—who, every now and then, simply must return to a natural setting to reconnect and regain my balance. I was going to say, "recharge my batteries" but that would be an inappropriate metaphor, because for me to reconnect (another electrical term!) I have to get away from batteries, television, computers, cars, carbon monoxide, and the other trappings of our self-congratulatory, so-called "civilization."

The first time I experienced this was when I was 18. I had just begun a term at an electronics technical school, had just completed my first week there in fact, when I felt an irresistible urge to get out of Tampa. Tampa was the first major city I'd lived in; and the lack of green was physically painful to me. This was 1969; gasoline was a quarter a gallon and so I was free to head east on I-4, towards Lakeland and the small town of Kathleen, where my best friend Chris had lived before moving to St. Augustine. Kathleen was surrounded by pine woods and I knew I could park the car at the side of the road and just inhale the clean scent.

When traveling, others in my group may want to go shopping or visit museums or see castles or fortresses or monuments. I just want to go into the country, find a rock to sit on, and meditate for an hour or four. Others in my family don't seem to quite get this. They complain about bugs (which seldom bother me), worry about spiders or scorpions or lizards (again, they are part of the nature with which I am communing), and as far as meditation goes, well, I love them all, but none of them seem able to stop talking long enough to let me do it.

As a corporate instructor of computer programming, I traveled constantly, and always had enough frequent-flyer miles to make additional trips to places I wanted to go. I skied on Snoqualmie, snorkeled in Key West, rafted the Grand Canyon (four times!) and soaked in a remote hot spring near Lillooet, British Columbia.

Even after 9/11/2001, when my career as an instructor suddenly ended and I spent the following year truck driving, I made certain that when I came upon an enforced rest (regulations try to prevent drivers from driving themselves to exhaustion), my truck was parked in a place I'd want to be, rather than in some truck stop parking lot.

But it's been tougher since then. I have a "day job" and weekends are filled with family events. Even when we float down the Salt River, or visit places like Slide Rock or hike or camp overnight along the Pine Loop Trail, there's so much time and effort spent in planning, packing, trying not to forget anything, and then when there in keeping track of everyone, and trying to keep them happy even if there's a bug, or rain, or sand in the sleeping bag or seaweed on the river bottom or too much sun or too little sun or heat or cold or…well, I love doing it and it's fun, but it does tend to be more exhausting than relaxing, at least, for me.

That may be why, every year or so, I get the urge to get out on my own to just wander in the woods, or maybe soak in a hot spring, preferably one deep in a forest without any (or, at least, many) other bathers. Somewhere I can close my eyes, float, and meditate for hours without hearing a sound other than the call of birds and the buzz of insects.

McCredie Springs, Oregon

One of my favorite spots, found when I was truck drivin', is about eleven miles east of Oakridge, Oregon. It's called McCredie Springs and, in spite of its accessibility, is still in its primitive state, is never crowded (and sometimes deserted) and in an exquisite, riverbank environment surrounded by old growth forest that masks the noise of the nearby road, to boot.

I have been thinking about this spot more and more in the past few weeks, to the point it has almost become an obsession. And so, when I stumbled on a very low airfare to Portland (about three hours away) I grabbed it. I'll be leaving early morning Saturday, September 8; and a shade over two hours later (it's a non-stop) I'll be in Portland. With luck, by 2 PM local time I should be soaking.

I'll take pictures.