We’re in Hot Water

22 04 2012

Greetings from Ojo Caliente (literally translated means “warm eye”, but more commonly known as “hot springs”) New Mexico. 

Cimarron Canyon State Park

Yesterday’s trip from Sugarite Canyon to Ojo Caliente took us through some beautiful country including Cimarron, Eagle’s Nest, Taos and across the arid Taos Plateau sliced in half by the Rio Grande Gorge.  We crossed over the Rio Grande on an impressive bridge 650 feet above the river, making it the 5th highest in the nation.  The 1st is the Royal Gorge Bridge in southern Colorado, 1053 feet over the Arkansas river.  Between Cimarron and Eagle’s Nest, there were a number of federal and state campgrounds that would be worth further investigation.  One that looks most promising is Maverick Campground, located within Cimarron Canyon, a New Mexico state reservation area.

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa

Continuing west, we arrived at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa located about 50 miles north of Santa Fe along highway 285.  The complex is much larger than we expected and dates back to the earliest human settlements in the region.  Ancient people build large pueblos and terraced gardens that overlooked the springs and named the area Posi, “village at the place of the green bubbling hot springs”. Spaniards exploring the region and questing for the Fountain of Youth renamed the area to Ojo Caliente in the 1500’s.  Even Zebulon Pike (of Pike’s Peak fame) wrote about the hot springs as he was marched to Santa Fe to stand trial for exploring New Spain without permission.  In 1868 the a natural heath spa in Ojo was one of the first in the country.  Since that time the historic buildings have been restored and maintained and many new buildings added to the complex. 

Site #1 Ojo Caliente

The RV campground is located along the river, and appears to be either a ignored asset or a work-in-progress.  There are 30 sites, ranging from very tight, side-by-side arrangements to those that offer a bit more privacy with tree and shrub coverage.  Most have electric and water hookups and a movable picnic table.  Campfires are strictly forbidden in this overgrown cottonwood grove.  Other facilities (restrooms, showers, etc.) are provided in the main spa areas a couple hundred feet down the main access road.  There are also two fairly clean porta-potties, one on each end of the campground, available for after hour use.  Somewhere (we haven’t located it yet) is a dump station. We’re parked in site #1, closest to the main spa complex and can detect the weak WiFi signal provided in the main hotel and restaurant.  When able to connect, this free WiFi seems fairly fast. Cellular service is good on both T-Mobile and Verizon networks – but internet speed is fairly slow on the 2G network.  There is no through-the-air TV service.  We hope they continue to maintain/upgrade these RV facilities, they offer a great location and the benefits of the use of the spa facilities.  The electric/water sites are $20 (plus tax) nightly.  Spa pricing is $30 for all-day access on a weekend and $18 during the week. 

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande Gorge

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