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  • Summer Dawn

Mono Hot Springs Resort, 2020

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Mono Hot Springs is the Disneyland of the Sierras. It has everything a nature lover could desire; rivers perfect for tubing, epic fishing, natural hot springs, lakes, hiking trails, and a campground along a river. Did I mention the resort?! It has a cute general store, a little restaurant with epic bison burgers, cabins, a bathhouse with showers and tubs fed by the hot springs themselves, and a staffed masseuse, oh my!

This was our 3rd year visiting this hidden Eden. Part of the reason why its so lovely is that it is quite a trek to get there. It is a 5.5 hour drive and then the last hour is along a mostly one lane dirt road full of ruts, rocks and steep cliffs. Last year my mini-van barely made it out. If it was not for my MacGyver skills it would still be there, but that's a whole other story.

I took my 3 daughters, my niece, and Ava's friend, so that's 6 of us all together. Kevin drove us to the airport to pick up our rental car which was supposed to be an SUV and was this fancy Toyota Highlander. We had to meet Kevin & the van away from the rental lot due to their policy, 'no transfer of gear in their building'. For some reason I could not make it out of the parking garage which had all the exits blocked off and I got funneled into the 'staff only' area and onto a conveyor track that took me and the car through a car wash. I had no control and was close to tears because I knew I was not supposed to be here. As I exited I found someone and profusely apologized and explained how I was stuck and didn't mean to go through the car wash. The guy laughed and showed me the way to the exit, finally!

I met up with Kevin and began the transfer of gear from my van to the Toyota. About half way through we realized there was no way it would fit, the Highlander is apparently smaller than my minivan! I went back to the crazy rental maze to get a larger vehicle. I took all the kids with me and left Ava behind. I was in luck, they had one that just got serviced and they could get it to us in 30 minutes, I'll take it!

After 30 minutes of playing red-light / green-light in the rental lot, our new vehicle arrived, a big, white Chevy Traverse! It was lovely, a dream car with all the bells and whistles. We names her Collette. We loaded into Collette, transferred the luggage and met up with Kevin, who had since driven to In & Out Burger as there was no place to wait at the airport. As I'm pulling in next to my van, I get a phone call from the rental agency asking if we left a phone? Apparently Ava had her phone in the Traverse, uggg. We managed to squeeze in all our gear and went back to the rental place for the 3rd time grabbed the phone and hit the road, only 2 hours later than planned.

6 hours later we made it to Mono Hot Springs, hallelujah! We stayed in cabin #9 which had 2 little rooms, a cute kitchen and pullout couch. We hit the ground running and blew up the floaties and took to the river and visited some hot springs.

The next day we took a 1.5 mile hike to Doris Lake where the water has this cool copper hue. The neat thing about this lake is that no water comes in or leaves the lake, its fed completely by underground seeps and springs. We spent a few hours swimming, playing with little fish and jumping off the rocks. That evening we hiked about a mile to my favorite hot spring called 'Lil Eden'. This spring has a breathtaking view which is why it's so special at sunset. The rim of the pool is lined with various mud faces and creatures which change from week to week depending on the most recent artists.

We spent the next few days floating down the river, soaking in the hot-springs, and did a good amount of fishing. We have been trying for over a year to catch a fish on all of our journeys, and have not been successful, but guess what?! We finally caught a fish, and not just 1 fish but 4 fish! What a great feeling, the girls were ecstatic.

My BFF Cecilia and her clan met up with us at the little campground along the river. We were able to spend some amazing time together in this special place. I have already booked our stay for next summer and now have to wait an entire year to head back to the happiest place on earth. Mono Hot Springs you have my heart and I can't wait to see you again.

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