|Road Trips to Hot Springs, by Jaimie Hall|
There's nothing quite like a relaxing soak in hot, hot water after a long day's drive or sitting in hot water up to your neck in the cold night air, watching satellites and comets shoot across the dark night sky. Any wonder why we love hot springs?
This winter we added two more hot springs to our life list, only fueling our desire to experience more. As we travel, we check to see if there are any hot springs along our route. They are both refreshing and relaxing. In fact, it is easy to get hooked and make hot springs not only part of the journey but even at times the destination.
CHINATI HOT SPRINGS
While at Big Bend National Park, we drove west through the Chihuahuan desert along the Rio Grande on Hwy 170 through Presidio and Ruidoso, then another seven miles on the rather washboard Hot Springs Road to Chinati Hot Springs. Nestled in one of the many small canyons in the Chinati Mountains of west Texas, this oasis offers hot mineral waters reputed to have healing powers.
We rented one of two cabins, each with its own soaking tub. Other accommodations included guest rooms attached to the main house, tent sites and boondocking areas for small RVs. Though a 28-foot trailer made it down the rough roads and turns, we would not recommend doing that. Instead, leave large RVs in Presidio and come out for the day.
We were greeted by a howl from Jubilation T. Cornpone, the bloodhound, plus several other barking dogs. Amazingly they only barked on our arrival. Caretakers Krissy and Dave Sines showed us around. Besides the tub in our patio, there were three "private" soaking baths holding two to four people -- private because once you go in and lock the door, it is yours until you come out. You can also use the larger group soaking pool and a swimming pool.
For meals, we cooked in the communal kitchen which has two refrigerators and is fully equipped for guest use. You bring your own food. It was a fun way to meet other people. Departing guests often leave extra food and supplies. Unfortunately, there were no coffee filters, so include those in your supplies.
We enjoyed dark night skies from our outdoor tub and sampled other private baths. I did wish we'd brought inflatable pillows to cushion our necks. We also hiked in the nearby hills. With no phones or computers access, this was a great place to get away from it all.
Chinati can be reached from Marfa, Texas, via Hwy 67 to Presidio, then west on Hwy 170 or by a high-clearance scenic route. Check on road conditions before attempting this route unless you have four-wheel drive. Click here to visit Chinati Hot Springs online.
FAYWOOD HOT SPRINGS
After our wonderful two nights at Chinati, we asked RV friends for hot springs recommendations. Hot spring aficionado Betty Prange recommended Faywood Hot Springs in New Mexico. North of Deming off I-10 and just off Hwy 181, Faywood is about halfway to Silver City on Hwy 61.
Faywood has 30- and 50-amp pull-through RV sites as well as tent sites, cabins with kitchenettes, and teepees for rent. The main public pools with lounging areas are segregated into "clothing optional" and "clothing required" areas; both have privacy fences. Additionally, we could use a "clothing optional" area for overnighters. Each pool area has three soaking pools -- one is about 110 degrees Fahrenheit, another about 105, and the third is cooler. Private soaking pools can be rented for an additional fee.
You can stay in Deming or elsewhere in the area and come in for the day. However, using the pools at night and seeing the stars, plus soaking early in the morning made staying there worth it. There's a lot to explore in the area: City of Rocks State Park, Silver City museums and shops, Gila National Forest and the cliff dwellings there, plus Deming. Massages can be booked; ours with Marshall were wonderfully relaxing. Click here to visit Faywood Hot Springs online.