Field Trip Friday--Ghost Ranch

November 10, 2017

One of my favorite things about traveling is discovery—not just discovery of a place, but discovery of people and subject matter I was previously ignorant of. Back in April, on my enchanted meander in Arizona and New Mexico, I went to a place I had previously never heard of that completely, well, enchanted me: Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, NM.

Ghost Ranch came by its name when cattle rustlers spread the rumor that the area was haunted by evil spirits in order to keep their neighbors from discovering the stolen animals hidden in the canyon next to Kitchen Mesa. The name, “Rancho de los Brujos” (“Ranch of the Witches”) eventually evolved into Ghost Ranch. 

In 1934, painter Georgia O’Keeffe visited Ghost Ranch. At the time, it was a dude ranch owned by Arthur Pack and Carol Stanley. O’Keeffe began spending summers there, renting Pack’s own residence, Rancho de los Burros, so she could have the privacy and isolation she craved. In 1940, Pack sold her the house and seven acres. She returned every year until the last few years of her life. Ghost Ranch’s logo is an adaptation of a sketch O’Keeffe gave to Arthur Pack in the 1930s.

The landscape of Ghost Ranch offered O’Keeffe many subjects to paint. One of her favorites was the flat-topped mountain she saw from her kitchen window, Cerro Pedernal:

Ghost Ranch is now an educational conference center owned by the Presbyterian Church. Visitors can take guided tours, hike the grounds, visit the museums of anthropology and paleontology, take an O’Keeffe-inspired trail ride (I wish we’d had time for that!), or simply soak in the peaceful atmosphere.

Exploring the world, whether on road trips or Field Trip Friday, whether near or far, will always be more than just a simple pleasure for me, or even an everyday adventure. At the risk of sounding clichéd, it feeds my soul. It takes me out of myself and my daily cares and responsibilities, broadens my outlook, helps me feel connected to other people who may (or may not) have those same daily cares and responsibilities. I’ve got several Georgia O’Keeffe-related books on my TBR list now, and I still intend to paint an O’Keeffe inspired watercolor in my sketchbook. (I’m just wrapping up Laure Ferlita’s Imaginary Visit to the American Southwest class, and that should help!)

Where have your everyday adventures taken you lately?

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  1. Kathy thank you friend for sharing this special place. I hope you can return and check out that special trail. Georgia O'Keeffe was a fascinating artist. Hope your week is off to a good start. Hugs!

    1. I hope you enjoyed the mini-visit to Ghost Ranch. Georgia O'Keeffe certainly was a fascinating person, and I still would like to learn more about her and her work. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Very lovely. I remember how astounded I was years ago at the landscapes in Utah's National Parks...From Maine to Florida to the American Southwest, it's a beautiful country.

    1. It certainly is. And so much variety, too. We are very lucky.