Posi…what? That is the name of the ruins here at Ojo Caliente Hot Springs. I just had the most wonderful hike to the Posi-Ouinge Pueblo. Thinking I would just hop up early for my morning photo shoot in the desert, I climbed the eroded hillside, the Pinon and cholla greeting me with the long shadows of a sun that is still low in the sky.
What a view. A long butte or mesa to my left, cool, smooth, round river rocks up here on the hillside…how did they get up here? Now what is that? It looks like a pottery shard…it is! Awesome! Where am I?
I just stumbled upon the ancient site of the Tewa Indians called Posi-Ouinge. As I followed the trail, I realized that this was a marked trail and that if I had gone to the front desk, I probably could have gotten the information sheet that would explain what I was looking at.
Lesson for the future.
So, I am shooting photos that hopefully will later be explained when I return from my hike. It is only a little over a mile but the location of this ancient site is so amazing, I sit down and just chill while I watch the sun rise.
I try to imagine what it must have looked like back when this was a thriving site of ancient civilization. The smell of smoke from the fires, children running and laughing and women carrying more firewood or talking to each other while grinding corn with large flat stones.
I heard a crow calling and I turned around to see some more pottery and shallow holes where pot-hunter have dug illegally to find artifacts.
After I got back to the springs at Ojo Caliente, where we are staying, I looked up someone who could fill me in on what I had seen. Three local Navajo were outside selling jewelry and the only one who would talk was a gentleman who used to play up there as a kid. He told me about exploring on his own out there in the desert and how he liked to go to the ruins because he knew they were special. He would go in the mornings because of the snakes. “Big ones”, he said.
So it turns out, that the Tewa were divided into two groups, the Summer and Winter groups that would travel along opposite side of the Rio Grande River up here. When they would come together, they built this pueblo (Spanish for “village”. It had almost 1000 rooms just on the bottom level and, of course, was built entirely of adobe bricks and tree trunks.
Because of the research done on this site, we know that it was most active in the 15th century. The hot springs here at Ojo Caliente were sacred and kept them alive during the times of famine.
They have restored me as well and I look forward to my next visit. A sweet old historic hotel, turned into a modern-day resort but the healing properties of the geothermally heated water are timeless.