Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Ghost Ranch

Georgia Okeefe first visited Ghost Ranch back in 1920’s then later purchased a home on 7 acres near this dude ranch. 
The Ghost Ranch Logo (shot with my new Olympus Camera)

 She had fallen in love with New Mexico and this was her place for spring and summer months before returning to New York.  
Sight above Ghost Ranch campsite at sunset
She remodeled and added on to her home situated amongst the sandstone bluffs overlooking the valley against which her beloved Pedernal sat as a backdrop to the south.  
The Pedernal.  West side of Vias Caldera
Quite a scene.  Her place was far away from the “dudes” as she called them.  She could walk or drive out in the desert to do her paintings at the rate of one every three weeks.

Ghost Ranch today, is a conference and retreat center run by the Presbyterian Church hosting as many as 450 campers at once during the busy summer months.  We arrived on a blustery cold spring day to find a few retreat-ants walking about.  We checked in at the Welcome center, verified out tour for later that day and headed to the campground.  We had the our pick of spots, settling across from bathhouse. on a level site with electricity.  The few of the surrounding cliffs were nothing short of amazing.

We ate lunch then headed back to welcome center for the after tour of the landscapes which Georgia painted.  

The tour guide, a young woman from Texas, took us into an off limits area where we viewed Georgia’s home from afar and saw several of the landmarks which she painted. 
Roadside Photo Op
  Gerald's Tree, Chimney Rocks among the many with Pedernal in the distance.
Gerald's Tree with Chimney Rocks in distance
Seeing this area first hand, we came away with an even deeper appreciation for her art.  She captured the essence of the land.  And Sraddha remarked as it was “no wonder Georgia needed 40 different shades of green paint”.
Sunset reflections on the Chinle
The evening we went up onto a finger of land to view the sunset in all directions.  I shot some pix with both the big Canon on a tripod and little Olympus cameras handheld.
Chimney Rocks.  Famous scene she painted
One of the most compelling paintings I remember was the one we saw at Heard Museum in Phoenix of "Chama River". I wanted to find the setting she used and did.  It is on the highway en route to Ghost Ranch north of Abiquiu.  I shot this photo.  I don't have painting to show you for comparison.  It is the place. Mission accomplished.
Chama River Bend
One thing stood out.  how quiet it is here.  We saw no planes fly overhead.  No military planes, no passenger jets 36,000 ft high.  this is off the flight path.  It is way back in a canyon.  At this time of year with only maybe 100 people here, we felt alone and peaceful.
Virgina's Warbler  - Our first sighting ever.  Shot with new Olympus Camera
We saw the last sunset last night.  here it is.
Off to the next adventure
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