Gregory and I are on the road now, on higway 285, north of Santa Fe. You’ll find this lovely rock formation just outside of Ojo Caliente, a neat little resort and spa that is the only place in the world with four different mineral springs bubbling to the surface: iron, lithia, arsenic, and soda. We first went over twelve years ago and liked it so much that no visit to New Mexico is complete without a stop here. We relax, soak, slather ourselves in mud, bake in the sun, and feel ever so grateful to be alive.
Like the rest of New Mexico, it is a magical place that is rich in history. The springs and spa are situated between a beautiful mesa and the Ojo Caliente River. The Tewa Indians lived in the Posi-Ouinge Pueblo on the mesa just above the springs over five hundred years ago, taking in the waters and living quite well. Everything changed with the arrival of the Spanish, but there are still traces of their life. Gregory is holding a piece of pottery left by them (don’t worry, he put it back – we’re not those kind of travelers). Seeing all of the shards lying around really makes me understand why archaeologists get jazzed by their work. By holding this pottery in my hand, I am making a connection to someone who lived hundreds of years ago! Though it is awfully exciting, we can’t stop here. There’s so much more to see.
After walking for a bit, we come to the edge and see this gorgeous view of the small river valley. I get giddy at the color combination. The springs are to the left of the photo.
While out walking, we found another reason to feel giddy. Despite the dry climate, the mesa is teeming with life! There are scores of birds, rodents, snakes, lizards, coyotes, bunnies, and insects. It is impossible to walk here without being inspired by all of these marvelous creatures. This is one of many, many lizards that we saw out on our walk.
Unfortunately we didn’t see as many of these cute little bunnies, which is probably good, actually, because there were many birds of prey out looking for them. Not to mention tourists, Gregory creeped closer and closer, wondering how close he could get, but that bunny said, no, no, no, and hopped away.
Looking northwest on the mesa. I know I am a broken record, but isn’t it beautiful?
How fortuitous! This is the first time we’ve seen the cactus in bloom while we were here. I was absolutely amazed at all the color, especially the pink. Isn’t it lovely? To top it off, we saw hummingbirds drinking the cactus nectar, too. To me, these are some of the best reminders of the true wonders of creation. Even in the driest place, there is abundant life and beauty. Gosh, I’m getting all weepy thinking how lucky I am to be a part of it, no matter where I am!
We’re at the end of the trail, taking respite under the ramada to enjoy all we’ve seen and experienced here. Thank you Ojo Caliente!