In the New Mexico mountains, the beautiful road leads to three great places to soak your worries away
We grudgingly hike down the mountain, then drive two hours to Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, west of Taos. I begin the next morning slathered with mud, then sun myself to dry the goop to a powdery crust. I swig lithium water―bear with me here―from an underground well before soaking in the silky weightlessness of a 110° arsenic spring.
What, under other circumstances, might sound like poisoning, here is called pampering.
Ojo Caliente (literally, "hot eye") has the only springs in the world containing four minerals―iron and soda being the other two. Each boasts its benefits: Lithium is said to aid digestion and mood, and arsenic helps arthritis, among other maladies.
A spa has operated here for 140 years. For centuries before that, ancestral Tewa Indians lived in P'osi, a pueblo on the mesa above the springs. Some accounts say they considered these waters a gift of the gods. Glowing and relaxed, I'm with them on that.