You’ll find rock houses and structures all over the town of Truth or Consequences; there are even a few grave markers in the Hot Springs cemetery (Cedar and 8th-ish) built from rock. I’ve heard that’s because rock builders came over after Elephant Butte Dam was completed post-1916, and drummed up work locally doing what they were especially good at (rock building).
Indian Springs’ baths are housed in one of these lovely ancient-feeling rock structures. I’ve only soaked here a couple of times and it’s been a while, and I’ve never been in the smaller bath. Today, though, the large bath is occupied, so the smallie is my one no-wait option.
The attendant grabs a broom and has me wait while he sweeps the floor and ramp leading to the small bath, sending clouds of dust and leaves flying out the door.
Once he’s done, he asks if I’d like to check the bath first, which makes me wonder if some people see it and demand their $4 back.
I say “no thanks” because I like to forget how sensitive I can be to tiny irritations. I take a fair amount of pride in my stout-hearted side, meaning I have in the past withstood fairly punishing circumstances with barely a blink. (But seriously, how bad could this be? It’s a hot bath!)
Once in the room, it dawns on me that the attendant may have asked me to check first in case I’m claustrophobic. The interior is lined with rock and wood. It’s dark, and it’s LITTLE. The “dressing” level contains only a chair and a pump rumbling away on the ground next it. A couple of clothes hooks are available.
There’s room for me to step out of my sweats; maybe I could do a jumping jack; but the hokey pokey would be pushing it. (You don’t measure area by whether or not you can jumping jack or hokey pokey? How weird.)
So other than the chair, the pump, the hooks, the rocks, the wood, and the jumping jack platform – there are only stairs leading down into mineral water.
Hot, hot mineral water.
The bath is big enough for one person, really, or two very good friends.
It’s not that there’s not a lot of water—volume-wise, there is—but it’s contained in a smallish area, 4 x 4 x 4, a bathing cube, if you will, with a pretty pebbled bottom. These pebble bottoms are fairly standard in our local artesian/free-flowing baths, and though there’s a pump at work in this bath, I learn later that its purpose is to assure constant flow. Otherwise, Indian Springs is thought of as one of our three “artesians” (the other 2 being La Paloma and Hay-Yo-Kay).
The atmosphere is womblike, and rustic, what with all the rock and wood. It’s a bit more primitive than most of the other soakers I’ve been in locally.
Oh, but the water.
I float, staring at the ceiling. I feel like it could be any old year, and by “old” I mean 1925, 1945, 1965. Though I haven’t been on a horse in years, for some reason I’m thinking about how good a soak must have felt after a long day in the saddle.
I’m glad I came along when the larger bath was already claimed, I can be such a creature of habit and the circumstances today got me into the small bath!