Ghost Ranch is one of the most beautiful places on earth in my opinion. New Mexicans call this Georgia O’keeffe county as she painted so many landscapes in and around Ghost Ranch. She first arrived in Taos, NM in 1929 where she first heard of Ghost Ranch. It took her a few years to make it back where she stayed at a dude ranch on Ghost Ranch property. She loved it so much that she came back and stayed as a guest of the owner Arthur Pack who owned and operated the ranch. In 1940 she bought the house in which she stayed. It was called Rancho de los Burros and she acquired it along with 7 acres of surrounding land. She eventually made her home in New Mexico permanent, and purchased another home/studio in Abiquiu which is just a few miles from Ghost Ranch. The land she loved is reflected in many of her paintings. I have always loved her work and am so lucky to wander some of paths she took so many years before and witness the beauty she captured in her paintings. These days you can visit Ghost Ranch by purchasing a day pass or book a stay including lodging or camping with an RV or tent. You can participate in art workshops or book a walking tour or go horseback riding. There is a museum on site as well. This is our first hike inside Ghost Ranch which has many trails to choose from. Since we are getting older we decided to do the hardest trail first because you never know when you might not be able to do it again. The Kitchen Mesa trail is the most difficult and longest hike on the map yet it is described as the most beautiful hike. I have to admit it wasn’t an easy trail with some narrow cracks to climb and steep slippery sandy areas on the edge of a cliff. But we took our time and managed to make it to the top. By the time we got up there I was losing steam and had to have a granola bar with some sugar to get my energy back but it was so worth it. Once we got to the top we had another 1 plus miles to look out over the landscape with the vivid colors of the terrain and sky. On this day there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and 65 degrees for a high. It was magical and Joe and I teased each other that I got to hike Kitchen Mesa before I turned 60 (just barely) and he turned it back on me to say he could still hike it at 60 (just barely). I guess that tells you how old we are but we are loving every minute discovering so many beautiful places in New Mexico that you can only witness from hiking there. I hope you enjoy the beauty of Ghost Ranch and especially Kitchen Mesa Trail.
Posted at 10:50 am by NativeNM, on August 10, 2021
The Jemez National Recreation Area is located within the Jemez Mountains which is approximately 50 miles north and west of Albuquerque. Jemez is an easy 1 hour drive for Joe and I. We’ve explored many cultural landmarks as well as gorgeous landscapes that includes geological formations of granite and red rock as well as volcanic rock. The mountains are full of peaks and valleys, mesas of every color and box canyons to explore. Over the last couple of years we have taken many day trips to Jemez. Every path leads to something different such as old railroad tunnels, water falls, hot springs, a soda dam, historical ruins and a goblin colony. These are just a few of the many sights to see in Jemez. The mountainous areas are gorgeous with Cottonwood trees along the rivers and streams that attracts fly fishermen and Aspen trees in the higher elevation areas. The people who live within the Jemez Pueblo maintain many of the customs and traditions of their ancestors. It’s easy to see why the people of the Jemez Pueblo would make this area their home. In the summer Joe and I love to escape to Jemez where the mountainous areas are a good 10 to 15 degrees cooler than in the city. The Jemez area includes little side roads, many of them dirt roads, that will lead you down a path of awe and bewilderment. It’s hard to capture the beauty of this enchanted area but I hope you can imagine it and maybe one day have a chance to experience it in person.
El Malpais National Monument is located approximately 80 miles west of Albuquerque off of Interstate 40. There are two exits off of I-40 that will take you to different sights and things to do along those roads. For the El Malpais Overlook and La Ventana Arch, take exit 89 South onto Hwy 117 for approximately 15 miles. The overlook point stretches for miles and miles across a landscape that is covered in old lava flows and sandstone bluffs. The view is amazing, showcasing a valley of lava fields with colorful Mesa’s surrounding the area. We hiked from the top down to the area below for a little over 2 miles. It was a beautiful walk that we enjoyed immensely. A few miles further south on Hwy 117 is the La Ventana Arch. La Ventana is one of the largest arches in New Mexico and is very easy to get to with a short half mile hike. It’s a stunning sight from afar but as you get closer you will be in awe of the enormous beauty of this arch. Across El Malpais on the west side you can take exit 81 off of I- 40 and travel south along Hwy 53 from Grants, NM where you can hike trails through lava tubes and old lava flows. There is a “Big Tubes” area in which you will need to stop by the El Malpais Visitor Center to obtain a wild cave permit in order to explore the caves. Currently all the caves are closed due to covid until further notice with the exception of the privately owned the Bandera Ice Cave and Crater. There is a small Trading Post on site where you can get tickets. A couple of years ago we took Cameron (our youngest son) to see the Ice Caves and Bandera Crater which is located along the continental divide. It’s known as the land of “fire and ice” with the Bandera Crater and Ice Cave where the cave temperature never rises above 31 degrees. It seems the more we explore New Mexico the more there is to discover.
The Bisti Badlands are located in the four corners area of New Mexico south of Farmington off of Hwy 371. The Bisti’s have been #1 on my bucket list for many years, but for different reasons we haven’t been able to go until now. You can look at photos and watch YouTube videos but there is nothing like seeing this landscape in person that makes you feel transported into another place and time. Much of the landscape appears black and white or sepia tone. It’s dry and desolate and the heat becomes a factor much of the afternoon so hiking in this area is best in the mornings. We carried several bottles of water with us knowing that there were no water stations to refill our bottles. The area is 45,000 acres and 60 square miles so unless you have an idea where to go, you could wander for hours. We did our research and decided we needed a GPS to coordinate areas and also keep track of our path because there are no trails and many of the footprints are blown away with the wind. We parked at the south parking lot and entered our coordinates into our GPS with 3 areas that we wanted to see; the Wings, Cracked Eggs and the Petrified Logs. We made it to those areas but we were also lured into other areas that we wanted to explore. There’s just so much to see, much more than we could even imagine in the few hours we were there. I hope you can imagine being transported to this enchanted land that was shaped by time and mother nature!
Spring fever is starting to creep into my senses. Spring is my favorite season especially when the colors start to paint the landscape with green leaves and the blooming of wild flowers. It’s pure serenity when you feel the warm air and sunshine upon your face as well as the accomplishment you feel after a long hike. We are lucky to have such a vast enchanted landscape with remote places to get away and explore. Josh gave us a book entitled “60 Hikes within 60 Miles” Albuquerque edition. We have enjoyed it so much and it includes many unknown places that we had no idea existed. Recently we made a beautiful trip to the Ojito Wilderness on the Hoodoo trail. It’s roughly 35 miles north and west of Albuquerque with the last 15 miles being a washboard dirt road. Once you get there you will find an easy 4 mile trail with a beautiful landscape and a few areas dotted with hoodoos varying in size and shape. These hoodoos are mostly sandstone with swirls of layers and color. While not as large or perfectly cone shaped like “Tent Rocks” they are each unique in their formations. There was wind along the trail with trees that look as if they had twisted over the years leaving behind some artistic bark and limbs. I’ve always been fascinated by these twisted art sculptures formed by nature. Here’s a few of our favorite views from the Hoodoo Trail in the Ojito Wilderness! Continue reading →
Who could have predicted that our world would change as we know it in only a matter of weeks. Do you ever wonder if the world will ever be the same again? Over the past few weeks I take little for granted and am grateful for the little things that keep me grounded and help me forget all the madness. While Joe and I are doing well, we recognize that so many families are sacrificing in ways I can’t even imagine. When our governor announced a “stay at home” order, everything got real for me. I have to admit I was nervous for days worrying about things I couldn’t control. Once the shock wore off I picked myself up and decided to find something productive to do. I got back to blogging but also started taking a diary of photos each day of our favorite meals and some views we spotted from our own backyard. With Spring’s arrival not only have the birds arrived but also other dessert wildlife making tracks through our yard. From sunrise to sunset I find beauty in things I took for granted only a few weeks ago. Life continues on as things look normal outside even though the world around us is not. May you all find something each day to give you peace and positive thoughts in the days ahead. We are all in this together! March 26, 2020, I woke up early to one of the darkest and richest sunrises I have ever witnessed. The sky was completely covered in clouds of dark blue. It was simply an amazing sight! Continue reading →
Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is located just over an hour north of Albuquerque near the Cochiti Pueblo. Kasha-Katuwe meaning “white cliffs” is a natural formation of weathering and erosion that forms these rocks that resemble cones or tents. The slot canyon trail is approximately 1.5 miles one way and will climb in elevation to lookout over the canyon where you can view the tent rocks from above. The climb can be challenging at times but well worth the effort. The view from above is hard to describe as anything other than wonderous. Other than the wind, which is a given in NM, the weather was quite beautiful, low 70’s with mostly sunshine and blue skies. We took our time and tried to take in every moment and of course I took way too many pictures. Follow along on our tour from the bottom of the canyon to the top and back down again. Maybe you will be inspired to visit one day! Continue reading →
Posted at 8:56 am by NativeNM, on October 16, 2018
It’s Balloon Fiesta time y’all! If you haven’t seen video or pictures of the past weeks festivities, I’ve got you covered. I haven’t been to a Mass Ascension since 1995, wow has it been that long! It’s much different and at the same time much the same as it was all those years ago. It’s a magical experience to walk among the balloons as they are stretched across a huge field in anticipation of launching around 550 hot air balloons. Whoever choreographed this is brilliant with so many balloons to manage among huge crowds of people. As they begin to inflate and take shape you will see them float upward in a choreographed wave. We arrived on opening day, later than we anticipated after a 2 hour wait in line to catch a bus out to the balloon field. But we were luckier than some who never made it out to the field at all. It was disappointing to see that more than half the balloons had already launched by the time we were dropped off and made our way onto the field. We had to wind our way through a virtual wall of people all trying to see the last wave of balloons. Everyone wanted to capture the magic in photos. While we were saddened in missing some of the earlier events we did manage to see some extraordinary balloons and had a wonderful time. We will be back, but next time we will plan better and get there earlier. Next time we will arrive to see the Dawn Patrol as they ascend before first light and watch them glow through the early morning air. Next time we will take more photos. Next time can’t come soon enough!! Continue reading →
Welcome to New Mexico! We are now officially back in the Land of Enchantment. We packed up our belongings in Kansas and moved back to NM in May. It took a few weeks to find the perfect home but are now settled into a beautiful pueblo style home on the West side of Albuquerque. On any given morning we are blessed with hot air balloons to greet us, sometimes they are so close we can almost touch them. Joe and I have gone to several farmer’s markets around the city, artist and craft fairs in Santa Fe and a memorable day with my sister Kat at the Vintage Market days where many things from the past were re-purposed into something new. This past weekend we enjoyed a day trip to the Purple Adobe Lavender Festival in Abiquiu, NM. Afterwards we ventured a little further up the road to Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’Keeffe made her home and painted so many beautiful landscapes. The area around Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch is referred to as Georgia O’Keeffe Country. The land is rugged and full of color. I can see the inspiration behind her beautifully painted landscapes. We had the most gorgeous day. The skies were a beautiful blue with massive clouds in the horizon. As we drove home the skies turned an even darker blue and rained over the mountains. It followed us home and shortly after we arrived the skies opened up and poured. It was a day I will always remember. It feels good to be home! Continue reading →
Posted at 8:52 am by NativeNM, on September 18, 2012
I’ve been away for a week to visit my native New Mexico so I haven’t exactly been in the kitchen lately. I did however experience some of the best cuisine starting with Carl’s Ranch Chicken. Then there was the Indian Taco smothered in green chile at Serefino’s where Kat and my nieces ate. So many good meals, so many memories. There is so much to love about New Mexico. Too much in fact but I’ll try to share some of the beauty, culture and serenity you will find when you visit. September in New Mexico is special, the green chile is roasting on the streets, the chile ristras are hanging, the skies are the most beautiful blue and the adobe architecture and decor makes you feel at home. We made our way across the state to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos but first a trip to the farm.