Before you even get down to the world renowned hot springs, there is a quite interesting drive, and as a person who is scared of heights, these canyon walls and roads sometime get the best of me. I try not to let on too much because A) I don't want to scare the kids and B) I don't want to pass my scaredy cat gene on to them; however, today I did not do a very good job as I dug my fingernails into the passanger handrest.
It may be hard to tell but that grey line on the left that runs across the photo is the road below us, and it was a long way down.
|Only enough room for one vehicle at a time.|
|On the passenger side, I could see paint on the rocks left from some automobiles that got too close.|
Once safely at the bottom, I took a deep breathe and enjoyed the neat old houses left from the 1930's.
|Notice the sign on the right. Theft from unattended vehicles occurs frequently; although, I felt quite safe.|
The natural occurring hot spring is an easy one mile walk though history. Along the way you pass an old post office/store and motel from when the town was booming, and some pictographs on the cliffs from prehistoric times.
|The kids hanging out at the old post office.|
As we rounded the corner of the post office, we got our first up close view of the Rio Grande, which is not what I expected. The famous river is not much more than a big creek now due to misuse and over irrigation - leaving it almost completely dry from El Paso to Presidio, and it is only when it gets fed by Mexico's Rio Conchos in Big Bend National park that it starts to carry water to the Gulf.
|Our first up close view of the Rio Grande river.|
Wide sprays of water, which a wall enclosed
In its bright compass, where convenient
Stood hot baths ready for them at the centre.
Hot streams poured forth over the clear grey stone,
To the round pool and down into the baths.
|Notice how clear and calm the water looks before the tribe entered, and once we entered it doesn't look quite as nice. The bottom of the mineral spring is just a fine sandy floor with a grey clay below the sand. The mineral water comes out of the earth at 105 degrees in the top right corner of the picture. You will notice that we are sitting in the bottom left corner because it was a bit cooler for the kids. It was neat to think that we were sitting in water that was transporting ancient minerals deposited deep in the earth crust millions of years ago.|
|Enjoying the warm mineral waters.|
Here I am lounging around with the kids, rubbing sand on my arms, and even making a mud mask for my face, while John the protecter stands guard. He did finally get down on the ledge to dangle his feet in the water, and discovered an old inscription carved into the stone foundation near where I was sitting - J.O. Langston 1912, which happens to be the name of the man who built the little town we walked by and developed the hot springs. Relaxing here was easy because the spring was only about 2 feet deep in most areas, and except for the two very nice couples who joined us, we were the only ones there.
|Taken while standing out of the Hot spring in the Rio Grande river, which was much colder.|
At one point, I ventured into the Rio Grande, which was only about knee high, and was shocked at the temperature difference. The older kids eagerly joined me in the river, and discovered a sweet spot right where the spring run overs the old foundation and spills into the river. The temperature there was just right - not too hot and not too cold.
|Johnny and Maia sitting in the much cooler Rio Grande playing in the run off from the spring.|
And although no one really wanted to leave this oasis in the desert, at some point we had to leave but only with a promise that we would come back again before we left.
|Everyone was wore out, especially the twins, and it was the heat of the day, which made the walk back a little more somber than the hike out.|
|A beautiful moment on the walk back - Hanna and Lexi at their best.|