Wednesday, May 23, 2012

OH Ojo & Taos

When we decided to travel to Santa Fe, our friends in Colorado told us we needed to stop at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs and Spa.  What a great recommendation!
The round adobe barn and hotel at Ojo are National Historical Landmarks.  There are seven different mineral springs including pools of iron, arsenic, soda and mud.  There are also steam and sauna rooms available.  We took advantage of all of them including a couple of fun dips in the mud.  Sorry there are no pictures as we did not want to ruin the camera, but rest assured it was all wonderful.
Part of the springs property includes several miles of trails that we took advantage of.  The variety and number of flowers that were blooming in the desert was fantastic.  While the desert flowers don't cover the ground like they do in wetter climates the colors are just as beautiful.
 Our first hike took us to the ruins of the Posi-Ouinge Pueblo. This pueblo was the home of the Tewa Indians. While all the adobe buildings have eroded away we were amazed at how many pottery shards were all over the ground.  People have gathered some and displayed them together but others were scattered all along the trail. We did follow the rules and only looked then replaced the shards.  It is amazing how many different designs there was.  We also saw this different lizard in the ruins.     
From Ojo we did a day trip down through the Rio Grande River Gorge to Taos.  It is a neat trip across the high plateau and then down a dirt road to the river below.  Above you can see the gorge the river has carved and the road as it winds down the side of the gorge.  There is a newer high bridge that we used for the return trip.  
San Francisco de Asis Church in Taos was built between 1813 and 1815.  It is a beautiful example of adobe construction. 
The Taos Pueblo has been continuously inhabited for 1000 years.  It has designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it has preserved this example of living history.  There are still about fifty people who live there today much as they did 1000 years ago without electricity or running water.  Because it is built with adobe (mud) bricks it has to be continuously repaired.  The stream is the main source of water for the pueblo.
The old San Geronimo Church is an example of what the pueblo would look like if it was not repaired each year.  Except for the bell tower the church has not been repaired since the Taos Revolt in 1847.  The area around the church became a cemetery for the women and children who were killed inside the church during the revolt. 
One thing that has changed in the pueblo is the addition of doors.  Originally the only entrances were up the ladder and through the roof.  This enabled them to keep out animals and enemies.  Left in the picture is a drying rack where meat was dried.  There are two hornos, outdoor adobe ovens, that are still used to bake bread.
Nanc with Jeri Samora - Flower Basket, whom we bought a small pot from.  There are several shops in the pueblo where you can buy directly from the artisans.  These are not imported knockoffs.  Jeri told us her daughter is a past Miss Teen New Mexico, the only Native American to win that honor.
The pueblo is one of the most impressive things we have seen in our travels.  The idea that something in North America has been in use by the same people for over 1000 years gave me a better understanding of the native culture.  I did not ask, but I wonder what they think of all the illegal immigrants in their country.
The town of Taos is famous for its artists and its many galleries and we met Ed Sandoval who was painting outside his gallery.  Ed was honored with a Governor's Award this year for his work.  
It is strange how some of the things we see in our travels become connected.  A couple of weeks ago I did a blog on Bent's Old Fort in Colorado.  After the Mexican American War Charles Bent was appointed governor of New Mexico and moved to Taos.  This was the house where he was killed during the Taos Revolt. 
We did it up big on our last day at Ojo.  In the morning we did a desert hike to an abandoned mica mine where we met these rock hounding students from the University of Houston who were exploring the area and collecting rocks.  They told us that mica is an ingredient used in makeup.  We then climbed to the mine where I tried to smash some rocks and Nanc explored inside the mine.
After the hike we got a private pool for a "private" soaking, followed by massages, more soaking in the public pools and topped the day off with a great meal at the Artesian Restaurant.  It was a great ending to a wonderfully relaxing stay.  We sure do recommend Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs to anyone passing through the area. 


Bobbie and Jim said...

Great post!!! So happy you enjoyed the mineral springs.

ladynomad said...

Sounds like an interesting place. I'll have to put it on my list to visit.