In October, GWPC Staffers Elena Hershberger and Chris Cuoco embarked on a 1-month road trip throughout the Western United States. It’s an enviable itineratry to be sure, so they agreed to report back on their favorite spots! First up is their visit to explore the Mystic Hot Springs, (and the climbing) of Monroe Canyon, Utah.
“Chris and I arrived at Mystic Hot Springs at 3.30 on Friday, October 3rd after about a two hour drive from Provo, where we had stayed the night before,” wrote Elena “Mystic sits in sleepy little Monroe, Utah. Monroe has a gas station, a couple sandwich shops and a Family Dollar, all of which close early and aren’t open on Sunday. The beer is a state-mandated 4% or lower, so bring some with you if you don’t want to subject yourself to bathroom breaks every 15 minutes.
But this quaint little town isn’t why we came. The real slice of heaven and what we were really after, were the amazing natural hot springs and the surrounding campgrounds, geothermal greenhouses, tropical fish ponds, psychedelic refurbished buses (which are rented out for overnight stays) and pioneer cabin village, all located in the midst of this conservative, rural town. Mystic had a laid back, retro vibe and we were sold on it right away.
The day prior, we had contacted one of the owners of the hot springs through the WWOOFing network to do some work for a few days in exchange for free camping, meals and hot springs. What we got, though, was so much more. We were welcomed in to spend meal times with Mystic Mike himself (who founded the springs in 1995) along with his girlfriend, Aubrey, and their two kids, Xavier and Soleil. We were treated like family. We got to give back by helping to shovel out and deepen the channels which the springs run through. It was hard and steamy work but being able to soak in the hot springs twice a day pretty much erased any muscle tension that had accumulated over our 5 hour work days.
On our last day there, Mystic Mike let us in on the beta for a local climbing area that was just beginning to be developed. So on our way out, we drove 10 minutes down the main strip and toward the mountains to Monroe Canyon in Fish Lake National Forest. The main crags had several multi pitch and sport routes on either side of the river that flows through the canyon.
Chris and I had only packed enough gear to boulder and found a couple of roadside routes easily. Serendipitously marked with the word ‘HERE’ in white paint on the slate grey volcanic rock, we pulled over and plopped our crash pad down right underneath. We bouldered the bottom of a few (speculated) 5.10+ routes which were well-lined with bolts. Unfortunately, without our full compliment of gear, we were left to drool over the mere possibilities what might have been if we had decided to bring all of our gear. We set off to our next destination with our bodies rested and our hopes high for the promise of even more climbing.”