Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ojo Caliente

One of the things I miss from our sticks and bricks home is a bathtub.  I love to light a few candles, throw some lavender Epsom salts into a steaming hot tub and scrunch down into the water until I'm entirely immersed to soak as long as I can stand it.  When we hit the road, Kathy promised me I'd get a bath or at least a swim every few months.  When learning about the geothermal dimensions of New Mexico, I was excited about all the natural hot springs throughout the state.  I researched and found Ojo Caliente in northern New Mexico to be an Internet reviewed favorite.  Ojo Caliente is a spring, a resort, and a New Mexico location. The location is merely a few B&Bs and restaurants and it's not even an incorporated town.

I called Ojo Caliente Spa and resort for reservations since they also have an RV park.  The phone rang to an answering machine so I left several messages but never got a return call.  We took our chances and headed there anyway. We figured we could find another campsite if necessary.  Luckily it wasn't.  Upon our arrival, I asked to speak to the manager about the telephone issue.  He was very apologetic and said weather had been disrupting their service.  He asked if our purpose of visiting was to soak in the hot springs. When we responded yes, he gave us both free passes for the evening.

We drove through a narrow gate and circled around a dirt roadway to our site.  The place was comparatively empty when compared to the resort parking lot we had just driven through.  Our wooded site was close to a small creek and felt very secluded.  After setting up camp and having a light dinner, we ventured out into the chilly air and headed to the springs.

We entered the springs through the hotel lobby.  There are lockers available in the bathrooms for clothes and personal items.  You can rent a lock or bring your own.  The waters have been used for medicinal reasons for centuries and their website will tell you more.  

We changed into our suits and headed out toward the large Kiva pool.  It is filled with spring fed waters containing arsenic and iron.  Next to it was a mineral spring that was advertised as being good for arthritis.  The temperature was 107.  We joined the four others already soaking and it was perfect. We watched as one man began talking to another about aliens and unusual occurrences around the area.  The other man became uncomfortable and left.  When he began talking to us, we decided to go check out the other pools as well.  Although the mud pool was closed, we tried all the others and came back to the Kiva pool for its perfect temperature and wonderful view of the stars.  

Once soaked thoroughly, we went to the sauna.  It was a short lived trip because the man with the inappropriate stories followed us in.  We decided it was time for a shower and to get back to the puppies. The final dog walk of the evening was short lived as the dark seemed ominous in the deserted and quiet campground.

The next morning it was puppy time and we took them on a nice long walk.  We made the campground loop, followed a dirt road away from the campground and happened upon a wonderful national historic site.  The Ojo Caliente round barn was built in 1924.  It was in wonderful condition and reminded me of the round barns in Minnesota.  After exploring the area, Keila and I decided to walk the meditation path.  She didn't quite understand how staying to the path would get you where you wanted to be and pretty much walked wherever she chose.  I found it quite rewarding and can feel the presence of my meditation as I write this nine months after it occurred.

This was a great discovery and I highly recommend a visit.  We certainly plan on returning sooner than later.

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