Monday, September 10, 2012

Spa Time! --- Ojo Caliente, NM

Roger here....  Yikes!!!! What is that?   It kinda looks like Dianne.  

We have left Colorado behind, and are slowly working our way back to Texas.  We had hoped to spend a week at the Corps of Engineers Campground at Abiquiu, NM, but could not get reservations for the first couple of nights.  What to do?  We had passed by a nearby hot springs resort a few years ago that advertised RV sites.  Why not?  Welcome to the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa --- a new experience for us, and a good one.

Ojo Caliente Spa Web Site

Our $20 campsite (cheap) was not pristine, but it was fine for the price, and it was unique.  Much cheaper than staying in the cabins or lodge of the spa.  We were scrunched into a narrow, but long site.  Our steps ended in the undergrowth, forcing a side-step in order to exit.  (The dogs had trouble with this in their exuberant leaps out of the motor home.)

There was an opening through the trees to the southern sky, so our satellite worked.  Yea!  I was able to record the Purdue-Notre Dame game.  Boo! Purdue lost due to a Notre Dame field goal in the waning minutes.  The dogs were happy to find a long, sandy road for their frequent walks.  The view from the front windshield was interesting.

Since we spent two nights, we had an entire day to enjoy the facilities, and that we did.

We started the day (with the dogs) on a 1.5 mile hike to the Posi-Ouinge Pueblo ruins.  The trailhead was located directly behind the resort --- very convenient.  The first leg of the trek involved scrambling up a rocky face.

After the initial exertion, the trail flattened and became an easy walk.  The resort provided us with a brochure to help us identify the things we were seeing along the way.  The three-story wood beam and adobe infrastructure of the ruins had melted into invisibility over time, but there were other very interesting things to see.  

As we walked on top of what was once the third-story rooftop of the dwelling that  housed hundreds of Tewa Indians, we searched for 500-year-old pottery shards.  We were excited to find a few of them that someone had arranged along the trail and were glad to be able to take a picture.

A few steps later, we found ourselves surrounded by the ruined pottery.  The artifacts were covered with distinct decoration.  Hundreds, probably thousands, were on display in every direction.  I had never seen artifacts like these that were not behind a glass display case.  (Dianne here:  It was obvious that hikers would add to the shard displays as they came across an interesting one.  It was hard not to step on them, there were so many along the trail!  I did my share of adding new pieces to the shard displays on the rocks as we hiked along.)

Dianne was certainly in her element --- ancient pottery artifacts, and beautiful desert plant-life.  (By the way, every relic that we examined was carefully returned to the exact location where it was picked up.)


After scrambling back down the rock face, we approached the (soon-to-be-visited) mineral springs where Dianne took this picture.

SPA TIME!  After the morning walk, we changed into our swim trunks and hit the mineral pools.  Unfortunately, it was a Saturday and the weekend rates applied, costing us an extra $10 per person, but it was worth the splurge for a new experience. We don't splurge that often, and hey, we were already there, and we were not going to spend bigger bucks for the myriad of spa massages and treatments!

The mineral spring area really was beautiful and relaxing.  In every direction there was water, landscaping, and the sound of splashing water. 

According to the resort brochure, the sulphur-free (and they really didn't smell) geothermal mineral waters have flowed from a subterranean volcanic aquifer for thousands of years.  Ojo is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water, including iron, soda, arsenic and lithia.  There are 11 pools filled with different types and combinations of the mineral waters, with temperatures ranging from 80-109 degrees.

The spa even offers private outdoor pools with kiva fireplaces at $40 per hour, with $10 extra if you want a fire in the fireplace.  A little rich for us.

  Each pool was supposed to cure a variety of ailments: (digestion, arthritis, skin tone problems, etc.)  Don't know about that, but immersing our bodies in them sure did feel good. 

Some of the pools backed right up to a cliff face. The setting really was amazing.  It was also very -- well, let's say new age.  (There were multiple signs indicating "Whisper Zone.")  A lady, eyes closed, who waded around in the iron pool chanting a mantra was a highlight for me :-).  

There were lots of hammocks.  Lots and lots of hammocks.  I like hammocks.  I just had to try one out.  

Among all the intriguing new experiences, the highlight had to be the mud pool.  We have been in hot tubs before and actually owned one, once upon a time, but this was definitely something new for us.

The first step was to cover ourselves with mud from the mud pot.  BTW.  I am not sure who would even think of plopping into that mud pot, but evidently someone did.

After allowing the mud to dry, the next step was to soak in the thermal mud pool --- obviously followed by a shower.

We soaked in the mineral springs until mid-afternoon when we went back to the motor home to walk the dogs, eat lunch, and watch the unfortunate Purdue game.  (All that relaxation just to get tensed up again.) 

Since our admission price covered all day, after dinner we went back to the hot mineral pools  to soak and watch the sun set over the cliffs.  We will probably do this again someday :-).

The pet picture of the day depicts Tequila gazing into an arroyo --- probably looking for lizards.

I just KNOW there's a lizard down there somewhere!!


klbexplores said...

Sounds like quite an adventure. As a mother for 38 years trying to keep kids and house clean, I'll have to admit that it would be quite a departure for me to get muddy on purpose. But hey, you just have to 'love' new experiences. This sounds like one to add to the memory books!

Nancy and Bill said...

Playing in the dirt is just about as much fun as climbing a BIG rock;o)) You two keep have a good time!!

Anonymous said...

I would love to go in the mud baths. What fun!

Our Emma pup would be the one looking for lizards, too. They've driven her nuts on our trips to the southwest. :)

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

It all looks pretty nice except for that mud pool:)

Marilyn said...

Let me know if any of your ailments were cured. I'll make a trip down! Looks fun!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Ojo Caliente! I didn't realize they had RV spots. I stayed in an overpriced cabin there a few years back with friends and just loved it.

Linda said...

What a fun place to be, the baths look like they would be so much fun!! Then to top off the day with ancient pottery...the best!!

Happy Trails said...

RiverBend Hot Springs in Truth or Consequences NM is another hot spring spa not to be mussed! Sits right on the Rio Grande River! We workamped there and loved it!
Google it, they have a great video!