Friends of Cougar News 2001
By Greg Thorne
12/23/01: Pool temperature is very pleasant. Not hot, but warm. About 101 in the pools 0 and 1, 99 in pool 2.
I wish everyone a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.
12/6/01: Even the top pool is going to be chilly today. It rained hard in Blue River overnight and continues to shower today. Wait for 3 days of no rain in the Eugene area before expecting any warmth in the pools at Cougar.
12/1/01: The pools are probably going to be barely warm today since it has rained this past week. But it's not raining so far today, so that will help warm them. It is Marta's birthday today. She is the woman that is in the home page picture on Cougar.org that appeared for over 3 years. I've added pictures of Scenic Hot Springs, courtesy of Robert V (the "Naked Gourmet").
11/26/01 Monday 11:12am: A picture of Scenic Hot Springs, after it was attacked with chain saws two weeks ago by the Sheriff's deputy Beaumont. The naked gourmet (NakedGourmet@hotmail.com) is optimistic. He fed us well Sunday, BTW. Volunteers will rebuild Scenic Hot Springs as many times as it takes until Beaumont tires. Kings County Washington. So far the Sheriff is supporting this kind of vandalism in the name of alleged building-code violations. It's private property and Robert V is one of several people concerned who are being threatened with arrest for trespassing for merely being there. Arrests have not yet occurred. Send me more news if you have it. Thanks.
Sunrise is about 7:10am.
11/25/01 Saturday 5:53am: It was a delightful day and evening at Cougar yesterday (Friday). The pools have warmed up 2-degrees, so it is very pleasant, but not hot. Pool 1 is about 99 degrees -- perfect for Chiwazen (watsu). Pool 0 is 101 degrees. Pool 2 is 97 degrees.
I was in pool 2 with about 8 other people when I first arrived. Two or three very nice groups.
If anyone found a bikin top left behind in the late afternoon Saturday Oct 20 that's blue and white flower design, sort of a hawaiian deal, please contact me. Amy has accidentally left it at Cougar and it has sentimental value. With it were blue underware, also lost.
11/23/01: It's cold at Cougar. Even the top pools seems to be slightly below body temperature. Wait until it hasn't rained for a day or two. About 15 of us visited in the 3 hours I was there yesterday. We had a great time, but it was chilly in them thar pools. And it was a cold rain on our nippy heads.
11/19/01: All is well at Cougar Hot Springs. It was a great day yesterday. I met Adam, Christine, Catrina, and Genevive. And others. Oh, Alex, of course. My first day back since leaving for Washington DC, Pennsylvania and Ghana on 10/20/01. I was in Ghana for 8 days. Maha will be arriving to Cougar soon. Within 10 days hopefully.
Things are not great at Scenic. Brian reports that it has been taken apart. More updates soon.
10/20/01 317pm PDT Scenic Hot Springs is under seige by the local sheriff. (See soak.net for directions). BrianHikes@hotmail.com reports "Major police." GregoryThorne@hotmail.com. For assistance at Cougar, speak with Brian. Robert the naked gourmet is reportedly at Scenic now / Derek caretaker is FriendsOSHS@hotmail.com . Unknown.
10/20/01 1:20p Weather: Bright brilliant sunny. Warm. Not a cloud in sky at Greg's Blue River. Come to Cougar today! ELECTION today. Pick up ballot at Cougar or from web here.
10/16/1 1004: Kurt Hupe (aka WorldHotSprings.com) and I are planning to visit Scenic Hot Springs Sunday 10/21 to discuss Trust to save Scenic Hot Springs (Washington) from loss of use.
10/14/1 1544: Our own Ibrahim Mohamed is famous. See 126.
10/14/1 2040: Crisis at Scenic Hot Springs. Tune to ScenicHotSprings.com once the site is up by Wednesday, possibly by the end of business on Monday. iow's SOON !
10/14/1 - 2004 PDT: Mango butter, Plantains, Ashley - nothing scares her. Tom & Mo, Trish & Kimberly, Jessica W., her boyfriend, Naked Gourmet. 12/16/1, Noelle's is 12/14, 3/26/87 Tiny, Baby, Freja, Blue boat, Scenic Hot Springs trust. Kurt, CFO, 200, Nx Sunday, Photographer Chris, Ellie, 7/26, FriendsOSHS@hotmail.com Derek, Nx Sunday north trip
Seriously. Daniel. Dale. Spark. Two Daniels I think the first was with Nancy of 29. First time back in 10 years!!!
Congratulations to our person of the year: The Forest Service, esp Jerri. What an improvement project!!!! Unbelievably great!!! Don't push your luck. Contact next time President@FriendsOfCougar.com We don't want you to blow it. You're on a winning streak, and wow! What glorious results. New clothes rack. Rock wall from pool 1 to 2 is magnificient. I even agree that elimination of the log from 3 to 4 is positive, but that was toughest. And better run off, and rock steps to pool 5. It's beautiful!!! You're Thank you JERRI!!!!!!!!!
10/10/1 - 1526G: Army Corp of Engineers preparing Cougar Reservoir for draining.
10/7/01: Cougar historian: Howard Horowitz. 1974 Master's Thesis. Recent visitors. Has come since 1970. Back then, there were many trails and many tents. The FS pretended we didn't exist.
7/27/01: Top retaining wall dam about to give way. Rockworkers needed.
7/24/01: McKenzie and Blue River ranger districts merging
7/20/01: The World Hemp Festival starts today and continues through the weekend. Location is 15 miles north of Eugene.
7/19/01: From Monday to Wednesday, Cougar was filled with Rainbow Family. Yesterday the number and mix of visitors declined to more typical levels. I vacuum-siphoned pool 4 three times, increasing its depth to 16 inches. It's a delightful 99-degrees.
7/17/01: Great day. I counted 40 people at the pools when I arrived. Nearly all were Rainbows.
7/15/01: The cold water stream has slowed to a trickle, so you may want to bring drinking water if this is your source.
7/9/01: The forecast for the week is highs in the 80s and sunny every day. Yes!
If you're camping, you might enjoy seeing Mars. It's shining brightly in the evening in the south sky.
Cougar is better now than I can ever remember. I've been coming to Cougar since 1991. The cold water's flowing, a new cooler pool has been created below pool 6. The waterfall into pool 4 is ideal. Pool 2 is deeper.
The crowd is wonderful. It's summer! And the peaceful, loving people that visit the Country Fair and other summertime festivals are relaxing at Cougar. We have Rainbows from the Idaho National gathering. There are so many interesting people doing summer internships at universities and non-profits. There are people from across America and other nations sharing their travels. I met people from France and Bulgaria this weekend that are living or doing scientific university research in Eugene for two or more months and enjoyng Cougar. Nothing like it at home. Cougar is a world-class hot springs.
The lagoon is still cool, but warm enough to enjoy swimming nude out to the waterfall. You can even walk naked down the trail from the hot springs and back after a cool refreshing dip. It is paradise on earth.
Pool temperatures are the full range: 98, 100, 102, 104, 106, and 107. 98 is lukewarm body temperature.
Sunday (yesterday) it was remarkably uncrowded around 2pm. For about 15 minutes I was the only one in the pools. I took some good video and spoke with Jerri of the Forest Service. She's in charge of Cougar locally. I asked her about the new sign that says "Clothing Optional in the Pools area only." I was concerned about what it seemed to imply about the trail and the lagoon. She said it's just worded oddly, that you can still be naked on the trail into Cougar and in the lagoon as long as you can't be seen naked from the road. This means the two beach areas are fine for sunning and swimming nude.
Jerri said they put the sign up before the trail because they still get 4-5 complaints each month from people about the nudity.
A couple hours before sunset it got very crowded. But it was a fun crowd.
7/7/01: The forecast is Sunny and high of 83 degrees in Eugene today. I was at Cougar yesterday after a week's long absence at the national Rainbow Gathering. To my delight, someone(s) have worked on the pools in a very positive way. Cougar is better now than I have ever seen it in terms of pools. The water level is up 5 inches in the top pools. The waterfall into pool 2 is 4 feet wide and flow increased 5 fold. It's wonderful to get under now. Quite an amazing sensual experience. The main waterfall that flows into pool 3 is improved. The shape of the flow is ideal. And the butt rock is a good one.
I'm going to see if I can dig out pool 4 for better chiwazen. Right now it is such a perfect temperature (99-deg) for meditative floating.
There were several people visiting Cougar yesterday who had just come from the Rainbow Gathering. The RG is winding down. For more information on the Rainbow Gatherhing go to WelcomeHome. I am planning to create a web site for the Rainbow Gathering. It will be probably RainbowGathering.com. People can share their stories, visions, pictures, and best of all, directions and updates on the next gathering.
It's a great summer at Cougar and the lagoon water is warm enough to swim in. I took my first swim yesterday. Swimming nude in the cool, clean water is nirvana. The shore of soft earth is makes great body mud at the edge of the water. Nudity is allowed by the Forest Service on the trail from the hot springs to the road and in the lagoon, as long as you're not very close to the road. The two beach entry points are fine for nude sunbathing and use.
The pools at Cougar are great temps now: 106, 105, 103, 101, 99, 97-degrees.
The Oregon Country Fair is next Friday (13), Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets for camping nearby also are available. For more information click on OregonCountryFair.
6/23/01: Very busy this afternoon. The crowd was a unusually loud, and more than half were wearing clothes in the pools. Probably the result of two or three large groups. The pools are getting hotter. People were using 5 of 6 pools.
6/2/01: Next Saturday June 9th is a FREE DAY at Cougar! You don't have to purchase the normal $3 passes for each person.
5/28/01: Mango butter.
5/27/01: Article in the Oregonian on Bagby Hot Springs: Troubles tarnish Bagby's promise
5/26/01: Memorial Day Weekend Saturday late afternoon was very nice at Cougar. A friendly, respectful, relaxed crowd. Robert, the Naked Gourmet, was cooking plantains and black bean burritos. I got a great foot massage from a woman I met named Lela. Later she was kind enough to take a picture of me under the waterfall, which I've posted on the pictures page. [Lela, if you're reading this, please email me (the msg I sent you bounced back)]. It was good seeing Jared again, too.
5/24/01: Crisis at Bagby Hot Springs: Forest Service Plans to Urbanize Trail
5/21/01: Pools are 105, 103, 99, 97. The very top pool is hotter and the lower pools a little cooler than a week ago. This is because volunteers on Saturday solidified the dams below the top two pools. It was a busy weekend at Cougar despite of the Willamette Valley Folk Festival drawing a large attendance. Robert V. aka The Naked Gourmet was visiting from Scenic Hot Springs and was cooking poolside to the delight of soakers. Chipmunks were scurrying about.
4/25/01: Pools are warmer, 105, 104, 102, 98 degrees.
There's a new sign board the Forest Service has erected just off the parking lot as you are about to pass by the waterfall lagoon. I didn't know it was coming. It looks awful, because we don't need more signs, and it detracts from the natural beauty. I called Jerry, the Recreation Director for the FS. She said that visitors were crossing over from the parking lot and not seeing the Pay Here sign, and so this is going to be a repeat to inform them to pay the fee and direct them back to the parking lot. Alot of us simply avoid anything that says "Pay here" <grin>. Perhaps the FS is sick of hearing excuses.
I emphasized to her how important it is to visitors that the beauty of nature not be scarred by excess signs, and she agreed. However, she is planning to add more signs under the existing sign board on the trail. That's the one that currently just says "Hot Springs Clothing Optional." I told her I would vote against adding pool cleaning information to that sign, since pool cleaning signs already exist at both the parking lot and right above the springs. Believe it or not, she says some people come to her to complain that "we didn't know it was clothing optional." How they missed this bold sign is anyone's guess.
Although she says she likes nature, she had a peculiar comment. She says alot of folks from the city want to see asphalt and don't want a dirt trail. Who is she talking to? I told her NO ONE I've ever met at Cougar would want to see the trail paved. Unthinkable! This is why Friends of Cougar exists. We have to stay vigilant.
The Forest Service spent all $40,000 they took in in 2000 from the fees, so they are limited in the improvements they can make. They've applied for funding to put in pit toilets, similar to what's at Saddleback dam at Blue River Lake. They would be placed on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot. They want to enlarge the parking area, but no funding yet. I recommended doubling the size, but she's talking about only 50 feet. Actually 50 feet sounds like a big improvement. In the summer, many people are not at the springs and so such a small parking area limits the lagoon enjoyment which is where most of the people are to sun and swim.
Of the $40,000, 80% ($32,000 was returned to the District to spend):
$16,000 rock work
$4,000 pool cleaning
$2500 Port-a-poties rental/service
$2500 dumpster service
$8000 2 Patrolers $4,000/3 mos
? outhouse service
4/22/01: Happy Earth Day!
People interested in learning about old growth forests can join biologists on a field day Saturday May 5. Participants will learn about the ecology of this ancient and rare ecosystem exploring common trees, shrubs, and birds, while also observing wildlife use of snags and their importance in old growth areas.
The tour will run from 9am to noon. (If interest exists, the program can include an optional 4-mile hike in the afternoon.) The tour starts at Blue River Ranger District office, 51668 Blue River Drive (the main loop road) in Blue River. Blue River is 5 miles west of the FS 19 turnoff to Cougar.
Following a slideshow on old growth ecology at the ranger station people will carpool to the Delta Old Growth Nature Trail (5 miles away).
For more information you can call Ruby Seitz at 822-1203.
4/15/01: Nice weekend at Cougar. Some sunshine. No problems reported with almost no alchohol use, and smokers being kind to smoke away from the pools. A medium-size crowd visiting. Pools warmed up about 1-degree, but are still only 105, 104 and 102.
4/8/01: It snowed at Cougar overnight and was a beautiful day today. It's unusual to get snow here in April. Visitors I met were from Idaho, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Bend, Portland and Eugene. A couple of babies were well enjoyed. One 8 months old, the other 7 months. There was an inch of snow on the road, but it melted during the day. The Santiam Pass is a little slick at last report. Check the latest conditions if you're coming from Bend with the pass cam.
3/8/01: Pools are 104, 103, and 101 degrees.
1/6/01: One of the nicest days ever at Cougar. Beautful sunny, warm winter weather with great people. The pools were filled with beautiful, conscious people. Everyone was having such a wonderful time that the crowd grew and grew. People were so comfortable with being close to each other. This meant the capacity of the hot springs expanded dramatically. More kept arriving, while fewer were willing to leave the pleasure. Temperatures in the pools are 104, 103, 100.
1/5/01: 58 Million acres of National Forest to be protected from logging and development.