Manby Hot Springs

Saturday a friend and I met at the farm market and found ourselves thinking of going out to the Manby Hot Springs, something we’d talked about a week before but hadn’t done due to the smoky air. It was my first trip. The photo above shows an early view of the Rio Grande flowing downstream, taken from the path down. A New Mexico hot springs guide book says it’s half a mile down on the path. It seemed longer than that to me, especially coming back up in the middle of the day, in hot sun.

We saw several of these small blooming cactus plants along the trail down. Exotic.

So where exactly is Manby, also known as Stagecoach Hot Springs? Well, if you were standing on the gorge bridge looking north it’s probably 2 miles upriver. It was once (in the 1890’s) a resort and the original way to get there was by stage coach. There was a bridge a little downstream of the springs and there was a switchback road cut into the west side of the canyon for access. From the springs you can see remnants of that road. Those were some brave travelers!

This was my first view of the springs from the trail. That raft on the upper left soon pulled away from the bank. They seemed to be stopping for some re-grouping. I can’t believe they would be launching from there. The pool we used is the one that’s closest to the center of the photo, furtherest to the left. Its water was coming from various sources inland side of the pool so was undisturbed by the muddier water of the river. It was not exactly “hot” but definitely warm and was comfortable for the warm day.

According to the water talk of the day the river has been running fast due to Colorado snow melt, which explains the muddy water. However it’s been dropping dramatically the past few days and will clear up as it slows.

This is a closer view of the pool we chose. We later met this girl and her brother and shared the pool with them for a bit. This is a clothing optional hot springs but I seemed to be the only woman there without a bathing suit. Oh well. A long history of hippy traditions had prepared me for the moment of truth. At one point I was the only woman in the pool with four similarly unclad men. All very nice men of course. I lasted about 45 minutes there in the hot sun with no hat and little sunscreen. There was no shade in sight.

I can tell you the way there from Taos. You head north and turn left (at the “blinking light”) like you’re going to the gorge bridge on Hwy. 64. About 4 miles down look for Tune Drive on your right. That turn is less than a mile past the Airport on the left. There are some possible turns off Tune Drive but I felt like it was clear enough which way to go forward to the eventual large parking lot at the end. The guide book says it’s about 5 miles, but I think it was more like 7 or 8, and it was not smooth sailing–not dangerous, but bumpy washboard for sure.

I kept my promise of a couple of weeks ago and went back where I took the photo of the peony bud and shot this fully opened peony. It is not the exact same flower, but the prettiest one of the bunch. More of the perennials that over-wintered around my house are starting to show their first blooms. This photo below is one. Can’t think of the name at the moment…

Arroyo Seco Y Mas

The main street of Arroyo Seco, located about 8 miles from Taos, and on the route to the Taos ski mountain, is lined with small shops. Some are practical and serve delicious food and/or drink. The Cow is famous for its ice cream for example, but is a good spot to bring your laptop and drink a latte or have a bit of lunch. And it’s a small town that seems to welcome you with that down-home kind of energy.

Last fall I took a visiting friend there. We were taking photos of the bright yellow leaves on the aspens up in the mountains and could get closer from Arroyo Seco. We had some delicious tamales as I recall. Just as we were leaving I spotted this shop in the photo above. I had read about its opening a month earlier in the newspaper. Since I was up to my ears making Goddess altars for the Christmas crafts fair in Taos I was interested in the name. Would they be interested in what I was making? So I made a brief tour of the store, talked to Ray Romero, half of the brother & sister owners, and left thinking they just might like to offer what I was making. Five months later I finally got around to taking in two of my altars for Ray’s sister, Patty, to see, and the response was positive.

This photo shows one of those altars, the Corn Mother. So after that great reception I was encouraged to bring in other craft items that would fit the store, including cards. The day this was taken I was delivering a box of my items and Patty was thinking about a spot for my products in the store. So, for now, I have my own tiny bit of real estate in Arroyo Seco and can only encourage my blog readers to visit Santos Y Mas and give things a look. Oh, and mention I sent you.

Later that same day I went over to the hot springs (Ojo Caliente) for a soak. On my way home I decided to take the route down through the Rio Grande gorge to Pilar and up from there on the main highway to Taos (68). Since I live on the side of town where this highway comes in, this is a real shortcut. It was 7:15 PM when I made the turn onto this gravel road which , as you can see, is a steep curving downward adventure. The lighting was not great, but hopefully you can enjoy the sensation suggested by the photo.

Here you can see the road coming toward the bridge over the Rio Grande from the left. Beyond the bridge to Pilar is several miles of road that closely follows the river and there are many camping areas with easy parking and access to the river along it. As you can imagine it’s a popular place in the summer with lots of people fishing and even boating in canoes and kayaks.

One of the surprises along the side of the road opposite the river is this mysterious water which comes out of a pipe stuck in the rocky side of the hill. Apparently it’s been there for a very long time and locals used to favor it for drinking water. You can just drive up with a truck and a large container and take as much as you want. I am personally fascinated by these long-held fountains of water known mostly just to locals. I would like to know how it would fare in a comparison to acequia water in terms of its mineral content and over-all life force energy. When you put some in a jar it looks very pure and clean. Just a few yards downstream of this flow there is watercress growing and that is also free for the harvesting. It is plentiful and if eaten would deliver much of the nutrition carried by this water.

7:40 PM