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Location of Oh-My-God Hotsprings/Slab City
Even though Chris lived a half a mile outside of Slab City in the bajada, they called this place Oh-My-God Hotsprings. While living in the Bajada, Chris met a man by the name of Ronald Franz while hitchhiking back home. Ronald had asked Chris where he was headed and he responded "out past Oh-My-God Hotsprings. Ronald had never heard of such a place and he had lived in Niland for over six years.
At the center of the camp, water from a geothermal well had been piped into a pair of shallow, steaming pools lined with rocks and shaded by palm trees which was called Oh-My-God Hotsprings.
The Bajada is where Chris McCandless lived for a short period of time, half a mile outside of Oh-My-God Hotsprings. The Bajada is open country cut by steep-walled arroyos which lies beneath the badlands. This is where Chris slept on the sand under a tarp hung from a creosote branch amongst the chollas and indigobushes and twelve-foot ocotillo stems. Chris would hitch a ride or walk the four miles to the nearest town of Niland, California, past Slab City, where he bought rice and filled his plastic water jug at the market-liquor-store-post office.
As Ronald drove Chris home, they passed Slab City where they came upon a bizarre encampment, where some two hundred people had gathered to spend the winter living out of their vehicles. The community was beyond the fringe, a vision of post-apocalypse America. There were families sheltered in cheap tent trailers, aging hippies in Day-Glo vans, Charles Manson look-alikes sleeping in rusted-out Studebakers that hadn't turned over since Eisenhower was in the White House. A substantial number of those present were walking around buck naked.
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