Sunday, April 21, 2013

Journey to Taos

Our artistic journey continues now on up to Taos.  After leaving Santa Fe early in the morning, we aimed the Crosstrek north.  Knowing we had plenty of time to get to Taos, we took a detour to Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch, which occupy a beautiful corner of New Mexico along the Rio Chama.

At Echo Amphitheater
We first went to our most distant point, Echo Amphitheater, to do a short hike with views.  The road passes through the Carson National Forest, and on our way back from the Amphitheater, we ventured out a short distance on Forest Road 151.  This primitive gravel road, 13 miles long, ends up at the Christ in the Desert Monastery.  It also follows the winding, cottonwood-studded river, which is spectacular in the autumn.    I would have liked to have gone much further – we went maybe a quarter-mile in – but I wasn't quite ready to take the new car on that particular road.

At Ghost Ranch
Then we went to Ghost Ranch.   Georgia O'Keeffe aficionados will remember Ghost Ranch and nearby Abiquiu as being Georgia's home for many, many years.  She first lived in a small house at Ghost Ranch, once a dude ranch but now a retreat and education center, and later at a larger, more remote house deep in the property.  The hills there are beautiful and worth painting.  You can just stop and paint, so long as you check in at the office.  I painted there maybe ten years ago with Bob Rohm, who leads a workshop at Ghost Ranch each fall.

Not Georgia O'Keeffe's home, but this is in Abiquiu
In Abiquiu, Georgia had another home.  Although you can't get a tour of the Ghost Ranch home, you can get a tour of this one – but you'll want to make your reservation a year in advance, I understand.  Abiquiu is worth wandering around in, too.  It's a small village with interesting adobe buildings and not much going on.   Between Ghost Ranch and Abiquiu there's a section of hill where you can pull off and get good aerial views of the Rio Chama.  I wouldn't risk painting there, but do take a few photos.

Rio Chama

The Pedernal, over Abiquiu Lake
I should mention the Pedernal.  This is a distinctive, flat-topped peak visible all over from O'Keeffe country.  Georgia once said,  "I painted it often enough thinking that, if I did so, God would give it to me."  Her ashes are scattered on top.

After Abiquiu, we headed on to Taos.  As we followed the Rio Grande up the gorge past Pilar, we could see the snow squalls building.  By the time we got to Taos, curtains of falling snow obscured the peaks.

Snow squalls over Wheeler Peak, Taos


Michelle B. Hendry said...

We got back last weekend and my photos are from very similar vantage points! I think it was a lot colder for you though! Love that part of the world....

Cara said...

I enjoyed this post very much - thanks for taking us along.