Tag Archives: Hot Springs

Bodhi Manda Zen Center

Standard

I didn’t even want to go.

My friend Tea (who’d lived in New Mexico for upwards of 30 years) had told me about the wonderful hot springs at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center near Jemez Springs. She’d visited the place a couple of times over the course of several years and remembered it fondly. When my sibling came to town to visit me, Tea wanted to share the experience with us. She suggested the three of us take a road trip to the Zen Center to soak. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The problems started immediately.

First I realized my van only had two seats, which meant only two seatbelts, which meant only two people could ride safely. How would the three of us get there? I knew Tea’s wouldn’t want to take her old clunker, and it might not even make the trip. I didn’t want us to get stuck on the side of the road.

No problem, my sibling said. A car could be rented. The cost would be offset by staying with me at the house I would be sitting instead of renting a hotel room.

The day of our trip, the rental car proved to be a problem. We called ahead to make sure the car would be ready at the appointed time. Well, no it wouldn’t, the rental car company employee told us. The car hadn’t been returned yet, and they’d have to clean it when it arrived…We could pick up the car two hours later than it had been promised to us. (Why promise a car to a customer at a certain hour if you don’t know if it will be ready at that time?)

Our entire trip had been planned based on the earlier pickup time. My sibling and I were on vacation, but Tea had all these constraints. She couldn’t meet us too early in the day, but she had to be home to care for her six dogs well before dark. Leaving two hours later would put her back home two hours later, or else cut our time at the Zen Center so short as the render the trip ridiculous. (Why drive 2+ hours to get somewhere and 2+ hours back only to stay at the place for one hour?)

The real problem was that Tea was getting on my last nerve. I love Tea. I really do. She has always been a good, kind, generous friend to me. However, she can also be bossy, nosy, and mothering to the point of smothering. She was really being demanding about this trip too, placing constraints on when we could go and when we had to get back. We were in a phase where I was annoyed by everything she did, and this road trip was beginning to seem like a really bad idea.

That’s it! We can’t go, I said with relief when the rental car company started jerking us around.

My sibling didn’t give up, whether because of really wanting to visit the hot springs or just to be nice, I still don’t know.

We started making phone calls. There was another rental car company at the town’s tiny airport. The company’s national call center said there was an economy car available immediately. We were ready to take it, but them my sibling suggested we call the local office just to make sure they really had what we wanted. The phone rang and rang and rang until finally some guy answered. He didn’t have an economy car available, he said. He had an SUV available and would be glad to rent it to us at a higher price. We told him the company’s national call center said an economy car was available, but he said they were wrong. I asked why the national call center said an economy car was available if it wasn’t, and he said he’d have a manager call me back immediately. To this day, I have not received that call from a manager.

My sibling called the first rental call company again and spoke quietly and firmly to the company representative. When the call ended, I found out a car had just been returned. It would be cleaned immediately. We could pick it up at the time originally promised.  It looked like we’d be going on this trip after all.

When we picked up Tea, I had her sit in the front seat. I told her she would do best up there as she was navigating. Really, I just wanted to sit in the back seat and pout about going on this trip I had decided I didn’t want to take.

The scenery on the way to the Center was FABULOUS! The road we took brought us past the entrance to Bandelier National Monument. We saw lovely rock formations, as well as folks climbing a sheer rock wall. We passed elk viewing areas (but did not see any elk). In some places, the road was VERY narrow and very steep, and it seemed doubtful two cars going in opposite directions would be able to pass each other, but they did.

Once at the Zen Center, Tea and my sibling and I headed directly to the hot spring pools (located behind the Center’s buildings and next to the river.) I was quite disappointed to find there was no shade over the pools. I’m really sensitive to the sun and burn easily, so I was hoping to sit in the shade while I soaked. Nope! All of the pools were in full sun.

The water in the pools was very hot. It would have felt great in the winter or at night, but on a sunny June afternoon, it was too much for me, although I typically enjoy really hot water. I could only sit in the hot water in the hot sun for a few minutes before I had to stand up and cool off.

There was some algae in the pools. Not a terrible lot, but it was kind of slimy and gross looking. What was really gross was the unwrapped, bloated tampon floating in the far pool. Yuck! How did that even get in there? I’m not typically squeamish, but it really grossed me out, even though it didn’t seem to be bloody. I really hope it had gotten there by falling out of someone’s bag.

Between the too hot water, the unrelenting sun, and the floating tampon, I didn’t spend much time in the water. I put on my robe and headed to the front porch where I cooled off, dried off, and read a book. I enjoyed my porch sitting and book reading very much.

When we visited, the use of the hot springs cost $10. For that price a person could stay all day (and possibly into the night…I’m not sure what time they wanted day soakers to leave). Payment was on the honor system. We placed our payment in a wooden box near the door of the room we passed through to get to the restroom/changing room.

While writing this post, I looked at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center’s website (http://www.bmzc.org/) and found nothing about the hot springs. There’s no mention of the springs being open to the public, the cost to use them, or when they are available. There’s no mention of the springs at all, although there is one photo of two of the pools. If I wanted to utilize Bodhi Manda’s hot springs I would email (office@bmzc.org) or call (575-829-3854) before showing up.

My sibling and Tea didn’t stay in the water much longer after I got out. Soon we were on the road again, heading to return the rental car.

If I were going to visit the Bodhi Manda Zen Center again, I would go when the weather is much cooler, maybe even in the winter. I would also arrive much earlier in the day, so I could get a lot of soaking time for my $10. However, I don’t feel like the springs were so great that I need to go back. That tampon in the pool really turned me off.

 

The Ten Best Things about Truth or Consequences, NM

Standard

The New Mexico towns I’ve spent the most time in are Taos and Truth or Consequences. Each is special in its own way to me. In my next two posts, I’ll share my ten favorite things about each town. Since I was in Truth or Consequences when I wrote this post, I’ll start there.

The Ten Best Things About Truth or Consequences

#1 My favorite thing in T or C (as the locals call the town) are the historic bathhouses with hot mineral water for soaking. Especially when it’s cold out, I love to soak in that hot, hot water. (Read more about the Truth or Consequences bath houses here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

#2 The town has a really cool name. Originally the town was called Hot Springs, NM, but in 1950, it became Truth or Consequences to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the radio program of the same name. (Read more about the name change here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/04/truth-or-consequences-nm/.) I appreciate the reminder to tell the truth or face the consequences.

#3 T or C is warm (or at least warmish) in the winter. When Northern New Mexico is too cold for me, I head south to this town in the Chihuahua Desert. According to https://weatherspark.com/averages/31751/Truth-or-Consequences-New-Mexico-United-States,

The cold season lasts from November 22 to February 14 with an average daily high temperature below 59°F. The coldest day of the year is December 25, with an average low of 28°F and high of 50°F.

#4 Miner’s Claim (318 N Broadway Street) is one of the best rock shops I’ve ever visited. The store is crammed packed with gems, minerals, beads, incense, jewelry, knickknacks, and shiny rocks. The guy behind the counter owns the store, and he’s friendly and knowledgeable. While he does stock high-end items, his prices are fair, and there’s plenty in the store for folks on a limited budget.

The turtle that gives Turtleback Mountain its name.

#5 There’s a turtle reclining on one of the mountains overlooking the town! I love geological formations that look like animals!  (To read more about Turtleback Mountain, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/09/25/another-geologic-formation-that-looks-like-an-animal/.)

The sculpture Joy, by R. William Winkler with one of the Pelican Spa buildings in the background.

#6 Truth or Consequences is an art town, and I don’t just mean the work on display in galleries. The town boasts lots of great art on public walls and in front of businesses. From murals to sculptures, there’s lots of cool art to see while walking around T or C. (Read more about the art in T or C here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/10/art-in-truth-or-consequences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/12/more-art-in-truth-or-consequences/.)

#7 The town is so into art, it has an Art Hop on the second Saturday of each month. (https://www.facebook.com/Truth-or-Consequences-Art-Hop-2nd-Saturday-of-every-month-6-9pm-188812578899/) The Art Hop is a great excuse to meet up with friends and see what’s new in the galleries. (For a list of art galleries and shops in Truth or Consequences, go here: https://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/shopping/art/.)

#8 The plants are cool in T or C. There are more cacti here than in the Taos area, and the ornamental rosemary grows in huge bushes. I like to break a small branch of rosemary off a bush and tuck it behind my ear for a smell more delicious than any perfume. The last time The Man and I left T or C, we cut several large pieces of rosemary from a plant in front of a gas station and arranged it on the dashboard for a great smelling van.

The Rio Grande as seen from Rotary Park.

#9 Folks can get up close and personal with the Rio Grande in Truth or Consequences. The river runs right through town. It’s accessible from Ralph Edwards Park, as well as Rotary Park. People fish in the river from Rotary Park and south of it too. If a person wanted to, s/he could wade right into the Rio Grande in T or C.

A panoramic view of Elephant Butte Lake from the campground in the state park.

#10 If the Rio Grande isn’t enough water for a desert dweller, T or C is less than ten miles from the 40,000 acre Elephant Butte Lake State Park. According to https://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/elephant-butte-lake-map/, Elephant Butte Lake is New Mexico’s largest body of water. The lake offers miles of trails, two marinas, sandy beaches, fishing, boating,  and a campground.

I took all of the photos in this post.

Any questions about Truth or Consequences can be left in the comments, and I will do my best to answer them.

Cock rings. Cock rings. Cock rings.

Standard

It was Wednesday, and I was sick as a dog.

It was day #4 of my head cold, and I’d managed to patrol the campground for the camp hosts on their day off and work my four hours in the parking lot. I’d barely spoken above a whisper, but I’d conveyed the information and collected the money.

When I got back to my campground, I took a shower and hoped I wouldn’t have to put my uniform on again that day. I just wanted to relax in my pink house dress, then take to my bed right after dinner.

I was sitting outside my van, giving my feet a good scrubbing when a big grey pickup truck pulled into the campground. The driver took it around the whole place, checking out every site. I didn’t approach the truck because I wasn’t in uniform. Heck, I didn’t even have on shoes. I figured it was probably one of the vehicles driven by someone who was just looking around.

The truck left the campground, and I silently cheered. I barely had the energy to make myself dinner, much less go through the check-in procedure.

Unfortunately, my bubble of solitude was burst when the pickup returned to the campground. I grabbed a clean uniform shirt (and the same old dirty pants) and dressed behind the curtain that pulls in front of my bed.

When I finished dressing, the truck was parked on site #6 and two men were at the information board, probably trying to find the self-pay envelopes the new boss doesn’t want put out if the camp host is on duty to collect payment. I walked over and called out, Are y’all looking for a place to camp? They said they were and asked if I were the camp host. I said I was.

We all walked over to site #6 (where an older-than-I-am woman was waiting) to fill out the paperwork. The guy with the big beard and the intense look in his eye started talking to me. He was hiking the PCT (the Pacific Crest Trail, I knew thanks to Cheryl Strayed and her book Wild). He’d started at the Mexican border. He’d already dropped 35 pounds. He weighed (an amount I don’t remember) when he started. He’d hiked into (some place apparently nearby) the day before, and these were his friends (or maybe family members–he was unclear on that detail), and they were nice, and they’d picked him up, and he was going to take a couple of days off the trail.

This guy was talking like either

a) he’d only minutes before ingested a stimulant (and we’re talking something like a mega cup of coffee or a bit bump of meth)

b) he was a bit socially awkward and had never learned not to regale total strangers with every aspect of his current life within the first three minutes of meeting

c) he was so totally and incredibly excited about his current endeavor that he couldn’t help talk about it with everyone he met

d) he hadn’t spoken to another human being in several days

Then the conversation (which was more of a monologue) got really weird.

He started telling me about some hot spring he’d visited during his hiking of the PCT. It was a nudist place, he told me.

The nudist part didn’t surprise or offend me. I’ve been to free, natural, public hot springs. The good ones are clothing optional.

Then the guy with the big beard and the intense look in his eye said, There was a pervert out there. He was at least sixty years old. He was wearing a cock ring.

The cock ring part did surprise me.

First of all, the thought of someone wearing a cock ring at a natural hot spring strikes me as ludicrous. I think of hot springs as places to relax, and cock rings seem to be used for the opposite of relaxation.

Secondly, I was shocked to hear this guy I’d barely met talk to the middle-age, camp-host lady that I am about a naked older man wearing a cock ring. It seems like a risky topic to broach with a stranger. I wasn’t offended, but I could have been. How did he know I wouldn’t be offended? (Maybe he didn’t care if he offended me. Maybe I give off a vibe that says discuss cock rings with me.)

Then the man with the beard said the naked older man wearing the cock ring was hard. That’s what the man with the beard said: He was hard. And the naked older man wearing the cock ring at the hot spring had been posing. The man with the beard imitated the posing of the naked older man wearing the cock ring.

I wanted to scream TMI! TMI! but I was rendered speechless. All I could do was laugh uncomfortably. Why was the man with the beard telling me this story?

Before I could get us back on track and get the permits (camping and fire) filled out and signed, he told me about the teenagers (boys, ages approximately 13 and 17) who’d walked into the cock ring spectacle at the hot spring and their Christian dad who’d walked up behind them, taken one look at the topless ladies and the posing older naked man and announced that all of these deviants were going to Hell.

It was actually a good story, albeit perhaps not one to share with the camp host three minutes after making her acquaintance. It’s probably a better story to tell one’s buddies after a couple of hours around the campfire.

I guess it’s also a pretty good story to share on one’s blog.

The title of this piece comes from the skit “Cock Ring Warehouse” on the hilarious HBO comedy program Mr. Show, season 3, episode 2. See it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb-Kh1oJSGE.

 

California Hot Springs

Standard

California Hot Springs is both a census-designated place (population 97 as of 2014, according to http://www.bestplaces.net/city/california/california_hot_springs) in Tulare County and a “resort” located in that small community. At the resort on Mountain Road 56, one can soak in soothing, odorless hot mineral water.

According to the history page of the resort’s website (http://www.cahotsprings.com/history.html,)

350,000 gallons of water at 125 degrees Fahrenheit, flow from the rock cliffs of California Hot Springs each day.  Its characteristics of remarkable softness, very-low sodium, lack of odor, unique purity, and refreshing taste; set this spring water apart from all others.

(The questionable punctuation in the above paragraph is copied directly from the website.)

The history page traces the use of the hot springs to the “native Yokuts” who “channeled the hot spring water into hollowed-out logs,” then soaked in the water-filled log tubs.

Development of California Hot Springs started in 1882 by Henry Witt and by 1902 a large hotel was under construction. In 1920 a commercial center, swimming pool, and therapeutic center were constructed. The landmark California Hot Springs recreation hall was built in 1926 and dedicated in May of 1927.
Fire destroyed the hotel in 1932 and the commercial center in 1968. The facility was then abandoned for the next 16 years.  Restoration began by Ronald and Mary Gilbert in 1983 and the facilities were reopened in 1985.

The California Hot Springs Resort offers two in-ground pools for soaking. These pools offer very hot, bubbling water, and are each big enough for four to six people to soak in at one time. The resort also pumps hot mineral water into the swimming pool. The hot mineral water is mixed with cooler water to maintain a warm temperature in the pool.

Of all the places I’ve soaked (12 in four states, both natural and developed), California Hot Springs Resort is probably my least favorite, for several reasons.

#1 For a resort, California Hot Springs is kind of shabby. In my imagination, a resort is a fancy place. However, the Google definition (https://www.google.com/search?q=resort+definition&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8) of “resort” is

a place that is a popular destination for vacations or recreation, or which is frequented for a particular purpose[,]

which I suppose does describe California Hot Springs. In any case, the women’s locker room looks more like “junior high gym class” than “relaxing get-away.” It’s not dirty so much as old, with humidity-warped benches, showers partitioned by not-quite-big-enough curtains, and a toilet that wobbled when I sat on it. The pool area is better, but not pretty or charming.

#2 California Hot Spring Resort doesn’t open until 9am. Even at an elevation of 3,700 feet, in the summer it’s warm at 9am. By 10am, it’s very warm. By 11am, I felt like a lobster boiling in a pot and not longer wanted to soak in 100+ degree water.

California Hot Springs charges admission by the day. At $12 for a pool and spa day pass, I wanted to get more than two hours for my money.

I suppose I could have dipped into the swimming pool to cool off, although the hot water/cold water back and forth is not something I enjoy. (My dad always preached against shocking one’s system, and I guess at least one of his  ideas did sink into my brain.) I could have also sat in the snack bar area or hung out in my van for a while, but I also don’t like hanging around in a wet swimsuit. (I guess I’m just picky.) Even if I’d cooled off, I knew I wouldn’t enjoy the hot water again until at least a couple hours after dark, long after the resort was closed at 5pm.

What I really wanted was to soak around seven in the morning, when the air was cool, and slipping into hot water would be welcome warmth. I prefer to soak in hot springs when “steam” (actually “water vapor condensing into small water droplets which scatter the light giving them their cloud like appearance,” I just learned at https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/2eg4e2/why_does_steam_sometimes_rise_from_cold_water/) is rising from the pool.

#3 The two bubbling hot tubs are outside, next to the swimming pool, entirely public and communal. “Public and communal” means swimsuits are required. I hate swimsuits. I hate the way I look wearing even a black one-piece (although my method for wearing one has been the same for years: put it on and don’t look down.) I also hate the way the wet fabric feels when it clings to me. Yuck!

“Public and communal” tends to lead to chatty people in the pool with me. I hate it when I’m soaking, trying to relax and loose myself, and other people in the pool are babbling about inane topics.

If I’m soaking, I want to be alone, which guarantees nakedness and quiet. If I can’t be along, I’d at least like to be soaking for free on public land with other naked people who will maybe keep quiet or maybe have something interesting to say.

#4 I didn’t know how clean the tubs were. I didn’t even ask how often the tubs are drained and scrubbed or if anything is added to the water to kill germs. Some things I think I don’t really want to know, especially if I am bound and determined to soak.

The best part of the California Hot Springs Resort was the breakfast I ate at the “full service delicatessen” in the main building. It was a basic breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, and hash browns, but true to the raves of a local, the cook grated fresh potatoes for the hash browns. Yum! I think the meal cost me $6. In addition to breakfast, the delicatessen serves sandwiches and ice cream.

While I wouldn’t urge anyone to visit the California Hot Springs Resort, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to soak there again, for anyone in the area who really needs to spend some time in hot mineral water, California Hot Springs will do.

Truth or Consequences Hot Springs (My Experiences Part 1)

Standard

Previously I gave an overview of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico as a hot springs and bathhouse town. (To read that post, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/05/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/.) Today I will share my experiences at four of the bathhouses I’ve visited in T or C.

I soaked at Blackstone Hotsprings (410 Austin, http://www.blackstonehotsprings.com/) once, in March of 2014, in one of the historic baths. According to http://www.blackstonehotsprings.com/HotspringBaths.shtml,

You’ll find the hottest water on the property in the Historic Baths, with temperatures ranging from 110 – 112 degrees. Cold “city water” is also provided so that you can cool the water if you prefer it less hot.

The Historic Baths were originally built in the 1930s. During renovation we found evidence of 10 baths in the original bathhouse. We were able to preserve four of them. Two became the Historic Baths.

I found the baths at Blackstone incredibly clean and well cared for. I would recommend the historic baths there to anyone who is super picky about the way things looks.

Blackstone Hotsprings also boasts The Wet Room. I did not soak in The Wet Room, but this is what the Blackstone website (http://www.blackstonehotsprings.com/HotspringBaths.shtml) says about it:

The Wet Room is a tropical paradise — a large soaking pool with steps, ledges and benches so you can be in whatever depth of hotspring water you prefer. There is also a geothermal steam room, with thin sheets of water trickling down each wall, and a drenching waterfall that massages your back and neck and shoulders.

Soaking in The Wet Room costs $25 per 50 minutes. Soaking in one of the historic baths costs $5 per 1/2 hour. All bath rates include a towel and drinking water.

IMG_4124I most recently soaked at Indian Springs  (218 Austin Street) in November 2015. According to  http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, “Indian Springs was established in the 1930s and has been owned by the same family since 1980. Two private, natural-flowing hot spring pools are situated next to six ’40s-style efficiency apartments.”

The small pool at Indian Springs. Notice the rocks at the bottom of the pool.

This photo shows the small pool at Indian Springs. Each pool is in a private room with a door that locks. Notice the rocks at the bottom of the pool.

Indian Springs boasts a small pool and a large pool. I like the small pool because it is 4 feet, 2 inches deep. I’m rather short, so if I stand up in the small pool, the hot water laps at my shoulders. I think two people could fit into the small pool, but those two people would really have to like each other to do that. The large pool is better suited to two people soaking together.

The price of soaking at Indian Springs is either $5 or $6 (my memory is fuzzy) for half an hour. Towels are not provided, but can be rented for another dollar (or maybe 50 cents.)

The fellow (owner?) I always encounter at Indian Springs is soft-spoken and super nice.

SDC10019

This photo shows the back of the motel part of La Paloma. At night, the star on “vacancy” sign flashes.

I also soaked once at La Paloma Hot Springs & Spa (formerly Marshall Miracle Pools, according to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/ and located at 311 Marr). My visit to La Paloma was in March of 2014. Like at Indian Springs, the baths here are natural and free flowing.

This is the pool I soaked in at La Paloma. Like at Indian Springs, each pool is in a separate, private room with a door that locks. The rope is to hold onto while one propels oneself through the water. Also like at Indian Springs, there are rocks on the floor of the pool.

This is the pool I soaked in at La Paloma. The rope is to hang onto while propelling oneself through the hot water.

When I visited La Paloma, there was a chart listing the temperature of the water in each individual pool. In the free-flowing pools, there is not way to add cooler water, so if one does not want a super hot soak, it helps to know the temperature of the water in each pool. I also noticed when I visited that nice incense was burning in the bathhouse and soothing music was playing, both contributing to a sense of peace and relaxation. I also really liked the painting on the walls of the private room  I soaked in. (To see the artwork, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/07/artwork-from-la-paloma/.)

The first time I soaked at La Paloma Too ( 300 Austin), in March of 2014, the bathhouse was still called Hay-Yo-Kay. SDC10024When I returned for a soak in November of 2014, ownership had changed and the bathhouse was called La Paloma Too.

According to the website for both La Paloma locations (http://www.lapalomahotspringsandspa.com/baths/baths.htm),

  • Both bathhouses are over ninety years old
  • Hot Artesian mineral water flows continuously through 11 gravel-bottom pools and is considered true *”structured” water. “Structured” water only exists in two natural flow bathhouses in T or C, NMSDC10025
  • Water temps range from 98 to 115 degrees with a pH of 7.0
  • The water consists of thirty-eight valued natural minerals and are [sic] not treated with chemicals
  • Noted high Lithium content with no unpleasant “sulfur” odor
  • All pools are in a private clothing-optional rooms in our bathhouses with benches for resting. There are absolutely no public displays of nudity allowed

    This is the pool I soaked in when I visited Hay-Yo-Kay, now La Paloma Too.

    This is the pool I soaked in when I visited Hay-Yo-Kay, now La Paloma Too.

  • Guests can soak by the half hour or by the hour and have access to public bathrooms and showers
  • No children under 7 years of age in pools or pool rooms. Guests 16 yrs and younger must be accompanied by adult at all times in the bathhouses
  • The only known bathhouse built over a hot mineral drainage canal in the continental U.S.

At either La Palaoma or La Paloma Too, a half hour soak is $6 per person; full-hour soaks are $10 per person. If you happen to be in Truth or Consequences on your birthday, both bathhouses offer a free soak on that special day.

The water in the free-flowing pools at Indian Springs, La Paloma, and La Paloma Too is very hot, and there is no way to add cool water as is possible at bathhouses where the tubs have faucets and drains. Whenever I soak at any of the bathhouses with free-flowing pools, I spend my half hour in and out, in and out of the pools. I love the super hot water, but I can only stay in it a few minutes at a time before I feel overheated. On at least a couple occasions, I’ve left Indian Springs (where I’ve soaked the most) feeling definitely high. WOW! I think it’s pretty cool to feel like I’m trippin’ without having to take any drugs.

*According to http://www.aquatechnology.net/frame426230.html, a “GENERAL definition of ‘altered’ or ‘structured’ water” is

…any mechanical, electrical, optical or other process or combinations thereof which alters the physical or chemical characteristics of water, thereby creating a new form or species of water which when utilized by plants, animals or humans demonstrates measurable and repeatable benefits to chemical, enzymatic and general cellular functions.

To read about my experiences at three more Truth or Consequences bathhouses, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.

I took all photos in this post.

Truth or Consequences Hot Springs (Overview)

Standard

Whenever I tell people about Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, I start off by saying, it’s an old bathhouse town.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences,_New_Mexico, “The first bath in the area was built at ‘John Cross Ranch’ over Geronimo Springs in the late 1800s.” According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/,

Downtown Truth or Consequences sits atop a large natural aquifer that produces somewhat salty, odorless water ranging in temperature from 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit. Were the city (and nearby Elephant Butte Dam) not here, the downtown area would be a swampy basin of warm mud, subject to seasonal flooding from the Rio Grande.

The Chiricahua (Warm Springs) Apaches named these springs “Place to Pray” and considered them a sacred place for healing. (Many locals repeat the “Geronimo Soaked Here” tale, but it is thought by local historians to wishful thinking…)

During the late 1800s, while neighboring areas…were experiencing the Gold and Silver Rush, the hot springs were visited by more and more people and the area became known as “Palomas Hot Springs.” The first generation of bath houses were actually tents, and a soak entailed laying in the hot mud and slathering it all over oneself; doing so was thought to cure rheumatism.

The same website says that the hot thermal water currently found in the bathhouses in T or C

flows out of a rift along the Rio Grande that appeared more than 50 million years ago.The rift uplifted Truth or Consequences’ landmark hill, and faults along the rift allow deep groundwater to flow freely to the surface without losing heat or minerals — producing pristine waters with temperatures ranging from 98 to 115 degrees, with trace elements of 38 different minerals. The pH of the water is 7, or neutral.

With almost 2,700 parts per million of assorted minerals, these thermal springs constitute some of the most heavily mineralized water in the United States. The continually flowing waters also have two important and unique features:

— The water has no unpleasant odor.
— The single largest ingredient in the water is chloride, a naturally occurring germ killer that sterilizes the skin and ensures the purity of the water.

Located in the downtown Hot Springs Bathhouse Historic and Commercial District, the spas and bathhouses of Truth or Consequences are central to its history. The region gained recognition as a health center at the turn of the century, and in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s motorists flocked to area resorts. [see a brochure for “Hot Springs New Mexico, City of Health”]

Some were prescribed the “21 day soak” regimen, said to cure “anything that ails you.” In a nutshell, the regimen is – soak in our hot springs once daily for 21 days, at around the same time each day, and spend as much time resting & recovering immediately afterward as you taking the waters [sic].

According to http://charlesspa.com/water.html, the following is an analysis of the hot springs water in Truth or Consequences:

Water Analysis

Element ppm
Ag Silver 0.001
Al Aluminum 0.050
Ar Arsenic 0.050
Au Gold 0.005
B Boron 0.250
Ba Barium 0.200
Br Bromine 2.600
Ca Calcium 163.000
Cd Cadmium 0.001
Cl Chloride 1360.000
Co Cobalt 0.001
Cr Chromium 0.002
Cs Cesium 0.120
Cu Copper 0.002
F Floride 3.060
Fe Iron 0.020
Element ppm
Li Lithium 1.300
Mg Magnesium 15.300
Mn Manganese 0.010
Mo Molybdenum 0.002
Na Sodium 751.000
Ni Nickel 0.002
Pb Lead 0.002
Rb Rubidium 0.700
Sb Antimony 0.050
Se Selium 0.050
Si Silicon 21.000
Sr Strontium 3.820
Hg Mercury 0.050
K Potassium 56.000
U Uranium 0.100
Zn Zinc 0.010
Compound ppm
HCO3 Bicarbonate 220.000
NH4 Ammonium 0.050
NO3 Nitrate 0.200
PO4 Phosphate 0.200
SiO2 Silicate 45.000
SO4 Sulfate 75.100

Artesian Well Analysis determined by the Los Alamos National Laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico, from samples taken May 31, 1987.

I have soaked in seven of the of the eight bathhouses open to the public in Truth or Consequences. (The baths at Fire Water Lodge and the Pelican Spa are open only to lodging guests. I have not soaked a the Sierra Grande Lodge & Spa, as it is really fancy and out of my price range.) To read my thoughts about each of the bathhouses where i took the waters, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truth or Consequences, NM

Standard

 

IMG_4039

As I was writing this post, I learned that the game show “Truth or Consequences” began every week with the words, “Hello There, We’ve Been Waiting for You!” Now this sign at the T or C tourism and information center seems a little less creepy.

Truth or Consequences is a small town with a population of 6,246 (as of 2013, according to https://www.google.com/search?q=population+truth+or+consequences&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8.) T or C (as locals commonly call it) is located in southern New Mexico off of Interstate 25 between Socorro to the north and Las Cruces to the south. The town lies within the Chihuahuan Desert and is the county seat for Sierra County.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences,_New_Mexico, major settlement in T or C did not begin until the early 1900s

with the the construction of Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir in 1912. (Elephant Butte Dam was a part of the Rio Grande Project, an early large-scale irrigation effort authorized under the Reclamation Act of 1902.) The town was originally incorporated as Hot Springs. It became the Sierra County seat in 1937.

(According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/about/, Sierra County was founded in 1884 and has a population of 12,000.)

So how did the town end up with such an unusual name? According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/blog/a-town-named-after-a-game-show/,  it all started with Ralph Edwards’ popular game show, “Truth or Consequences.”

The show aired on the radio from 1940-57, and on television beginning in 1950.

In 1949, as the radio show’s 10th anniversary approached, Edwards asked co-workers for ideas on how to mark the occasion.

vintage post card for Hot Springs New Mexico“Why not find a town or city somewhere in America that would be willing to change its name to ‘Truth or Consequences,’ and do the anniversary broadcast from that city?” said a staffer.

Edwards liked the idea. The word went out. A number of cities responded. But one stood out from the rest: Hot Springs, New Mexico.

The show’s producer visited Hot Springs to work out the details with the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, and other local big-wigs. A special election was held on March 31, 1950, and the name changed passed, 1294 to 295.

Edwards promised to come back the following year, and did – but further cemented his relationship with the town by returning every year for the annual Fiesta celebration, bringing Hollywood stars along for the event.

Though Ralph Edwards died in November of 2005, his spirit lives on as T or C celebrates “Ralph Edwards Day” every April 1st, and continues to hold its annual Fiesta the first weekend in May. The city’s largest park and its auditorium are also named for Mr. Edwards. IMG_3937

SDC10030

This is the logo for the Healing Waters Trail in Truth or Consequences.

Truth or Consequences is a hot springs town (hence the original name). According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, “since before recorded history, the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs in this area have drawn people” to what is now Truth or Consequences. (To read about my experiences with the healing hot water at the bathhouses in T or C, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)

In addition to hot springs, T or C is also an art town. According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/, all of

Sierra County is home to an extraordinary and eccentric group of artists. Traditional arts and crafts flourish alongside cutting-edge contemporary art, creating a lively creative environment.

IMG_4108

This is one of Delmas Howe’s flower murals adorning the Civic Center in T or C.

Works by local painter Delmas Howe are on view [in T or C] at the Geronimo Springs Museum, as well as at Rio Bravo Fine Art Gallery, the largest venue in the county, which was founded by contemporary artist Harold Joe Waldrum (1934-2003). Howe’s colorful flower murals also adorn the exterior of the Truth or Consequences Civic Center.

Local art is the primary focus of  Truth or Consequences‘ Second Saturday Art Hop, held monthly in the [town’s] downtown…

IMG_3989

This photo shows one of T or C’s outdoor murals.

Truth or Consequences is also home to a growing number of outdoor murals; you’ll find them painted on bath houses, shops, homes, and even vacant buildings located in increasingly colorful alleyways.

(To see more of my photos of the art in T or C, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/10/art-in-truth-or-consequences/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/12/more-art-in-truth-or-consequences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/07/artwork-from-la-paloma/.)

Truth or Consequences is one of my favorite places, and I think, well worth exploring. If you are wondering where to stay during your T or C adventure, check out this post: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/13/where-to-stay-in-t-or-c/.

I took all of the photos except the “Greetings from Hot Springs, New Mexico” postcard.