Monday, August 25, 2014

Crustaceans beware

The last of the well known hot springs in the Mammoth area is the Crab Cooker—so named because it gets exceptionally hot. At least sometimes. When I visited, the valve had been turned off a while and the water wasn't much more than body temperature.

There are two ways into the Crab Cooker and both are wretched. I'll give directions from Benton Crossing Road.

There are three cattle guards on Benton Crossing, starting with the one at the junction with US395, next to the little green church. Just before the third cattle guard there's a road on the left. (The right turn immediately after the same cattle guard takes you to Wild Willy's.) In case you lose count of cattle guards, it's about three miles from US395, the next left after the Whitmore Tubs Road fork.

The road is lumpy, bumpy and rocky. It might be less annoying to walk. After a while there's a road to the right that leads to the Crab Cooker. It's just as bad. There are a couple of small parking areas at the end of the road. (37°39'46"N, 118°48'0'W)

The path from the parking area to Crab Cooker

The stone and concrete tub is about ten by six feet and not much more than a foot deep.  It's not glamorous, but it's functional. The view is about the same as Wild Willy's.

The water valve is down in a flooded hole. As far as I know there's nothing in there that bites.

A few paces away is a concrete slab with a small chamber in the middle. It seems to be the source of the spring. It might also be a place one could actually boil crabs. Lower a pot on a chain, hook it to the grate, and go soak while dinner cooks. Maybe?

If it weren't for the awful access roads, its shallowness, the so-so view, a bit of litter and some cow pies, I'd rate Crab Cooker 4.75. Instead, I give it a 3.5 out of five. Really, the road is that terrible.

1 comment:

  1. I have since learned that the nice concrete slab was once the foundation for a steam shack. Fancy.