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.

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