After two and a half-hour drive east from San Diego, I came upon a picturesque oasis of palm trees in the dry Imperial Valley.
The water that was gushing there unbeknownst to people was a warm spring.
Today Salvation Mountain is one of the famous tourist spots all over the world.
It is said that Leonard Knight (died in 2014) spent 30 years living in this strange truck and created it all by himself.
Initially, it was only an illegal building, but in 2002, its uniqueness and artistry were publicly recognized and it was registered as a state cultural asset.
Salvation Mountain is a veritable oasis in the desert, filled with extreme colors and religious messages.
A 40-minute drive from Salvation Mountain, a real oasis of lush palm trees appeared.
You have to pass through a desert covered with silky sand to get to the oasis, and if you accidentally park your car, you risk getting stuck.
The maximum temperature in the Imperial Valley is over 100 degrees F in the summer, so getting stuck is a matter of life and death.
Visit with a four-wheel drive vehicle, and stop once you find hard ground.
Underneath the palm trees was a pond about 20 inches deep that could hold about 12 people.
I could see the spring water gushing up from a pipe installed at the bottom near the center of the pond.
The water temp at the gushing point was a lukewarm 91 degrees F, and and there was no peculiar smell.
There were small fish swimming around; there was little human waste, and it was kept in a relatively clean state.
Clothing is optional.
When I visited, there was an elderly man soaking alone, completely naked.
When I approached him, he seemed to be the janitor of the hot spring and claimed that he was the one who installed the pipe that serves as the water outlet.
I half-heartedly followed the old man's advice and blocked the pipe with my hand, and lo and behold!
The bottom of the pond suddenly caved in and my legs were buried up to my knees.
If the pipe was not installed, water would gush out from everywhere and it would be like a bottomless swamp.
Thanks to the unique mechanism, the hot spring in the oasis is unexpectedly enjoyable, and continues to gush forth with almost no one knowing about it.
5 Palms Warm Well Oasis, Yuma, California, U.S.
- RuleClothing optional
- Water tempUp to 91 degrees F