Recently, I read about writing down, on a little slip of paper, something you wish you could do right now but can’t. Then, you tuck that wish into a special jar. Every time you have a thought of something you’d like to do but can’t, write it down and put it into the jar. Eventually, when you have the time, energy and freedom, pull out those paper wishes and go do. I LOVE that idea - hope of better times to get us through any tough one.
Should you decide to create your own wish jar, here’s a suggestion of something you might want to write down and drop inside. It’s a short trip from Santa Fe, New Mexico that will take you to Ojo Caliente for two very special hikes ending with soaks in the mineral waters of the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort. I’ll detail the first hike in this email and hike #2 in the next.
Ojo Caliente is a small community about an hour north of Santa Fe. It's famous for it’s natural mineral hot springs located in one of the nation’s oldest health resorts. While the resort was established in 1868, the hot springs themselves have a much longer history - ancestral Tewa people have valued the sacred waters for thousands of years.
On our first short and sweet hike from Ojo Caliente, we’re going to visit the Posi Ruins named for Posi-Ouinge meaning “village at the place of the green bubbling springs.” Posi was the largest of four dynamic prehistoric pueblos in the area prior to the 15th Century. It's inhabitants built terraced gardens overlooking the hot springs.
We're going to take a 1.4-mile loop trail up to Posi-ouinge which starts at that back of the current Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort. The trail is easy once you have climbed up past the short steep first section of pink granite rock. Don't let that section prevent you from going on up. At the top, you’ll find a sign pointing you left to the Posi Ruins. As you continue your trek, you’ll find yourself walking under an endless sky amongst juniper, sage, and eventually sprinklings of impressive pot sherds both plain and dramatically painted with an array of distinctive designs. Pottery collectors should be especially excited. Look and enjoy, but don’t take.
You won’t find many actual ruins here like you would at New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, but that’s okay. It leaves you freer to imagine the lives of ancestral Tewa people inspired by the beautiful but rugged landscape that's fused with the pottery artifacts. If you’re a photographer, a painter, or a writer, now is the time to do your thing. Perhaps you just want to sit, reflect and listen to the voices of the distant past. This is a perfect opportunity to be still for a moment.
Once you’ve finished your brief but rewarding journey, you’ll find yourself back at The Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort. It’s the perfect time to grab a bite to eat at the Artesian Restaurant located inside the Historic Hotel or enjoy some lighter food at the adjoining wine bar. After your tasty fare, (some of it grown from the resort's own organic gardens) you’re ready to soak and lounge in the natural mineral springs. $30 will get you a full day of soaking from 9:30am - 10:00pm Monday - Thursday. The rate goes up to $45 Friday - Sunday. There are 5 different pools containing Lithia, Iron, Soda and Arsenic (yes, arsenic!) There's also a must-try mud bath. Slather yourself in the mud and bake in the sun. If you begin your hike later in the day, there’s also a Sunset Rate after 6pm where you’ll save yourself $5-$7. If solitude is calling, reserve one of 3 private outdoor pools for an additional fee.
An ideal getaway would be 24 hours at Ojo Caliente, where you can visit the Posi Ruins, take advantage of the hot springs, stay overnight and then begin hike #2 after breakfast the following morning. (I'll detail that hike in my next email).
If you’ve been to Ojo in the past and enjoyed it, I’d love to hear. If you think you’d like to visit in the future, I’m excited to think of the experience that awaits, and I've some perfect jewelry for your trip. Whatever you do, I hope you’re able to add some wishes to your jar. It’ll help get you through.
- Ojo Caliente can get crowded. Do your best to visit Monday - Thursday before the height of Summer. (The rates are better on those days too!)
- Like the name Ojo Caliente implies (warm or hot eyes), it can get hot outside. Bring water on your hikes.
- Sunscreen is essential.
- Ojo Caliente is a small community. You won't have the opportunity to easily run to the store. Bring any food, drinks, or other supplies you can't do without from Santa Fe. The gift shop at the resort has some food, drinks and supplies.
- Don't rule out winter - it can be a wonderful time to visit.
- The Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa has quite a few options at different price points from luxurious suites to rooms at the Historic Hotel built in 1917 (without showers) to private homes for larger groups, vintage trailers and camping.
- The Inn & Mercantile at Ojo is a country bed and breakfast.
- Various AirBnB’s
- The Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa has the Artisan Restaurant and adjacent wine bar. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner - serving during specific times. Some of the food is supplied by the Ojo Farm, which uses organic and sustainable practices and honors the traditional agricultural heritage of the land on which it exists.
- The gift shop has some drinks and snacks for your hike.
- The Mesa Vista Cafe is located on the main highway for less expensive fare.