In the Cascade Mountains, nestled within old growth forest lies a cave filled with hot, crystal-clear mineral water which flows into two smaller pools outside the mouth of the cave. Luscious, green Deer Ferns, steaming moss and an overhanging Western Cedar tree mark the entrance to the cave. Yards away, Burntboot Creek rumbles down the rocky slope until it reaches the Middle-Fork of the Snoqualmie River. The springs, known as Goldmyer Hot Springs, is a beautiful 20-acre tract of privately-owned land that sits between U.S. Forest Service land and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. At 2,000 feet in elevation Goldmyer isn’t just known for its healing waters but also boasts a 900-year-old Douglas Fir nicknamed “Grandpa”.
The spring emerges inside a narrow cave. At the source, the water temperature measures approximately 117-120 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the pool in the cave is around 110 degrees with the two pools outside getting subsequently cooler. In the early 1980s the Washington state Department of Natural Resources collected samples of the hot spring water. “The low conductivity and total salinity of the Goldmyer Hot Springs water are unusual for the relatively high temperature. The waters are primarily sodium chloride, moderately high pH and sulfate concentration, and very low magnesium concentration.” Other minerals present include trace amounts of potassium, calcium, lithium, silica, bicarbonate, sulfate, fluoride and hydrogen sulfide.
Goldmyer Hot Springs is owned and managed by the non-profit, Northwest Wilderness Programs (NWWP), a group of volunteers dedicated to protecting this unique natural resource and preserving its wilderness character. NWWP was formed in the late 1970s by members of the Morrow family, who owned the property at the time, as a response to the overuse of the springs. After the formation of NWWP the Morrow family donated the property to the organization with the intent that it would be used for “educational, spiritual, recreational, and research purposes.” NWWP’s “goal is to offer wilderness experiences to the public while maintaining the long term preservation of the hot springs property and surrounding eco-system.”
In the 1980s volunteers built a small cedar cabin on the property to house full time resident caretakers to protect the fragile ecosystem and to manage users of the area. This is where Lissa and I come in. From April until October, we will join the NWWP family to be entrusted with the care of this very special place. The posts to my blog filed under Goldmyer Hot Springs will document our experiences as stewards of Goldmyer Hot Springs.