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Diving Desert Grottos

For this trip Matt, Steven, Chris and I set out to investigate rumors of a hot spring/cave in Gandy, Utah. There wasn’t much posted online about Gandy Warm Springs. The directions to the springs were especially vague — “turn on a dirt road about a mile before Gandy.” We started by taking the scenic route toward Delta. After reaching Delta we decided to take the dirt roads through a canyon neither of us had ever seen before — because Merit Badge (my Kia) has a thing for dirt roads. The views were spectacular! We stopped a few times in the canyon to explore steep cliffs and to scout out possible camping sites, then we got back on route towards Gandy. Just before we reached Gandy we ran into a dirt road junction with a small gathering of houses that had a trailer-park feel about it. There was no sign designating it as an official town. Gandy, on the other hand, had an official sign even though only one house is associated with that sign.

We backtracked a mile and found a dirt road that fit the vague description we had. The road quickly turned into a two track path with a high weed center and more and more snow the further we went. We tried several of the branched routes on this road to no avail. Then we consulted the pictures we had stored on the iPhone. Looking around we found the places that appeared to match the few pictures we had best and set out to find a road that would take us there. After slipping a significant way down a muddy hill and figuring a way to get the car back up the hill, we found the springs.

This spot turned out to be much more than we expected. The water temperature was close to 80 degrees and a cave with an ominous opening took us deep underground. With headlamps and one pair of goggles between us we swam underneath beautiful stalactites and past a little gurgling waterfall. Near what appeared to be the end the path twisted around on itself and a little window opened up a space between the rooms. The cave kept going but it went underwater. We decided that there was more that needed to be explored. So we went back out, hiked back to the top of the hill to our vehicle, and packed the SCUBA gear to the springs. Once we got back to the deepest room we took turns going beneath and exploring the tunnel underwater. This was Steven’s first SCUBA diving experience and he did a great job. The water flow steadily increased and the tunnel pinched into a smaller and smaller tube. It got quite difficult to fight against the current. I spotted a small (one inch) brown fish in this tunnel and was hoping to find a place where the path opened up into a cavern of air again, but the cave got too skinny to continue.

After this, we headed out into the mountains to camp for the night where we cooked hamburgers and played with our astronomy laser pointers under a spectacular sky.

The next morning we broke camp and set out to use the rest of our air 30 feet below the surface of main pool of Meadow Hot Springs ~95° F). Once there, we explored the shelf and then left the SCUBA gear about 12 feet down where they couldn’t be seen from above. Afterwards a kid wandered to the springs by himself and we had him witness as I went to the bottom and “held” my breath in an attempt to break the world record. We were amazed at how unimpressed he was when I came up after 4 minutes. He was more concerned with whether or not I had seen his rock down there — kids today… no respect.

Comments (3)

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  1. John Griggs says:

    Oh man, that sounds awesome. Inconspicuous underwater hotspring caves. Some of the many under appreciated wonders of Utah. But what a lame kid. He ruined a perfectly good prank. When I first read it, I didn’t catch on to the shnanigan but rather thought, “going for a world record, that sounds like Thad”… then I re-read it and realized it was a ploy to take advantage of the naive imagination of a young person. I then thought, “now THAT sounds like Thad” :)

  2. troseph says:

    I want to go to there.