So, this one time in high school, I got fake nails for prom and proceeded to not only break three of them in four short hours, but also to spear my high school sweetheart’s arm as we walked down the promenade.
I made my prom date bleed.
Of course, Robb forgave me. He had to—I was teetering back and forth precariously on impossibly high three-inch, pointy heels. Besides, he knew when he asked me that I’m not the type of girl who normally believes in wearing hot pink nail polish or spending my hard-earned cash on facials, body wraps, pedicures and manicures.
He had long ago come to terms with the fact that I was more likely to show up for a date in a ratty T-shirt and jeans than a miniskirt and bangly bracelets.
My two closest girlfriends in Santa Fe are impossibly feminine. They wear make up and believe in high fashion and look like models as they daintily type away at their desks and carve ballerina-like turns down Santa Fe ski slopes during snowboarding season.
And then there’s me. I’m still the same girl I was in high school. The one who only looks girly in week-long spurts—a few days here and there when I enter a feminine phase and don dresses and rustic knee-high cowboy boots and curl my hair into messy ringlets and coat my eyelids in dark purple hues.
But then the same thing happens every time. I wake up the next morning, mascara smeared, to a bright sun and a cool breeze and I instantly want to ditch that day’s commitments to go play outside. The mountain beckons me.
So, I put on unwashed, chalk-coated shorts and head for the crags. I forget to wash my hair for three days. I play until Monday comes when my 8-5 job makes me be a grown-up again. This is what I want to spend my hard-earned money on: gas, beef jerky and whiskey.
I left Santa Fe in July to move to Jackson, WY. My last week in Santa Fe, my friend, Amber, suggested we ditch our Sunday plans to cliff jump at Lake Abiquiu for a little quality spa time at the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa.
My last week in Santa Fe, my last days to climb at White Rock and Diablo Canyon, mountain bike the Dale Ball trails, camp in the middle of Pecos Wilderness, and she’s suggested we coat ourselves in therapeutic mud and soak in an iron-rich spring? Unbelievable…
But she was one of my two closest friends this past year and a half, so I begrudgingly said OK.
It took me about, oh, 10 minutes to become a believer in the benefits of mud wraps and mineral baths.
We headed to the mud bath and, after a few embarrassing moments of trying to figure out how it worked, we painted ourselves brown. I lightly caked cold mud on the climbing-induced cuts running down my knees and across my back until my tanned skin disappeared. Historically, mud baths have been used for generations in Eastern and Western Europe to alleviate arthritis pains. They say mud releases toxins from your body.
From there, we moved onto the Lithia Spring, the Iron Spring, the Soda Spring and the Arsenic Spring. The baths promise to do everything from alleviate arthritis pains to aid digestion to heal a variety of skin diseases. I can’t tell you if it actually worked. Did I think it did? Yes.
In three short hours, my aches and pains disappeared, my cuts stopped burning and, most importantly, the stress of leaving Santa Fe and my two closest girlfriends behind for a new job and a new life finally eased. There in that therapeutic water, next to one of my best friends and a dozen strangers, I finally stopped thinking. We left the spa with wet hair and soft skin. I felt prettier and more in shape than I had in weeks—as if each muscle had been stretched and kneaded until it was flat and smooth.
The next four days I wore mini dresses and knee-high rustic boots every night. I shamelessly flirted with a cute boy for the last time. I looked impossibly feminine. But then it was time to leave and on my last day in Santa Fe, I woke up at 5 am., took a deep breath, pulled on a ratty pair of pants and slipped into my SUV. I drove barefoot for an hour, one hand riding the wind, the other steering me toward the Tetons.
I lasted four weeks before I searched for the nearest spa.
So Many Spas!
The local options for relaxation aren’t endless—but they are numerous. Here are a handful of spots to soak and/or rub your troubles away:
106 E. Faithway St.
333 Cordova Road
Downtown Day Spa
227 E. Palace Ave.
RockResorts Spa at La Posada de Santa Fe (formerly Avanyu)
330 E. Palace Ave.
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs
50 Los Baños Road
Ten Thousand Waves Japanese Health Spa
Hyde Park Road