The first thing I do is go to places named hot springs.
It was a beautiful oasis near Tucson, Arizona.
A 30 minute drive east of downtown Tucson.
I came to the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
The Agua Caliente Regional Park, maintained by Pima County, has no admission fee.
Agua Caliente means a hot spring in Spanish.
The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, ceded vast areas of land from Mexico to the United States, including all of California, but some areas such as Tucson still belonged to Mexico.
In 1853, these areas became U.S. territories through the Gadsden Purchase, which was intended to settle border disputes and other issues.
So Spanish place names remain here and there.
Hunter-gatherer remains dating back to 3500 B.C. have been found in the park, suggesting that the spring has existed since ancient times.
There was a settlement of the Native American Hohokam tribe around 1150.
After the Gadsden Purchase, it was used as a military encampment.
As the name suggests, there were actually hot springs in the area!
In 1874, a health resort, orchard, and ranch were built, advertising the benefits of the natural hot springs.
After 1916, it was privately owned and used by successive wealthy owners to entertain their guests.
In 1985, it was developed as Pima County's first nature park and opened to the public.
Reaching the main pond from the parking lot was easy, but finding the hot springs and their traces took some time.
It was in the palm thickets on the east side of the main pond, by the parking lot where I started.
How did this happen?
The unfortunate news is that wealthy people dynamited the source twice when it was privately owned.
It is said to have happened in the 1930s.
Before that time, hot and cold springs appeared to have sprung up adjacent to each other.
It seems that the effort was intended to increase the amount of water, but it was a disaster.
The springs merged into one source and the flow rate dropped to less than half.
In the 1960s, another wealthy man dynamited it again, further reducing the flow rate to less than half.
The water in the main pond is pumped from a well, as the source has run completely dry in recent years.
At the time of my visit, the gush was barely visible, along with gas.
79 degrees F lukewarm water.
The mystical atmosphere left a lasting impression on me.
Soaking is prohibited.