Wednesday, April 5
It was a 17-mile drive to Santa Fe so we sat around for a while before we took off. It was a beautiful sunny day. Dave spotted a roadrunner dashing across camp and we “beep beep”ed for him. We selected the Santa Fe Trailer RV Park across the street from the one we stayed at before. It was close to busy Cerrillos Road but that was okay. We had dinner reservations at the Coyote Café, a venerable Santa Fe restaurant that I love. We shared an interesting duck appetizer, then Dave had elk and I had a very large pork chop. The accompaniments to the meal were as good as the meat. For dessert we had this hollow chocolate globe with something in it and a sauce poured over it along with a fruity port. (Not too descriptive, I’m afraid.)
The next morning, we planned for more food – breakfast at the Plaza Café that has been serving food since 1912. We both had Chile Relleno omelets, although I had the chile sauce put on the side, thank heavens. It was very spicy. Stuffed to the gills, we waddled over to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. O’Keeffe is right up there with Monet, in my estimation. I love her work. The admission price includes a tour you can download onto your iPhone and we struggled with that for a while. Dave managed to get it onto his phone and it provided a lot more information than the signage does. The museum came into being because the foundation that inherited O’Keeffe’s estate bequeathed a lot of her household to the museum after her death. Each time we’ve visited the museum, the exhibits include more of her works and artifacts from her life, work and travels. After the museum, we took a short desultory walk around the center of town, doing a little bit of gift shopping. It was warm and we sat in the sun for a while. We decided to go back to the RV park. We still had to do laundry and shopping for the next week. The drop-leaf hinge that holds up my tiny meal prep counter failed a week ago. It just wore out.
Friday, April 7
Another 65 miles to Ghost Ranch. We’ve been there before but never did a hike. We checked into an okay campground and went for a walk on Matrimonial Mesa. I wasn’t expecting much but it was very nice, away from the road and Ghost Ranch buildings. The trail begins at the cabin built for the 1991 movie “City Slickers”. It’s decrepit in a very authentic way. I took many images of the Pedernal, a formation that Georgia O’Keeffe painted many times. This country is her country, where she spent the second half of her life. As we headed down the trail, the late afternoon light got very nice on both the eastern and western bluffs. We ambled along, having a good time. We finally retraced our steps and got back to the cabin. I checked out the back part of the extensive Ghost Ranch property and we found a cute yurt nestled under the cliffs. Saturday, April 8
Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm. We took off around 8 a.m. on the Chimney Rock Trail that starts near enough our campsite to walk. I’m not sure if the tiny, labeled adobe houses strewn about the property are for guests or particular activities. One was named “Bodywork” and another was “Control”. Chimney Rock Trail rises 600 feet and it’s 1.5 miles one way. I wasn’t sure how high that was but our view continued to expand as we ascended. The high clouds softened the light and made photography a joy. Everything was beautifully lit. We saw our first Indian Paintbrush dotting the slopes.
We reached a spot I thought might be the end of the trail, but it continued around the mesa, bringing us closer to the rainbow-colored cliffs.
A final short, steep rise brought us to the mesa top. Instantly, the wind picked up. We wound our way along the top for a spectacular view of everything. The dropoffs were straight down about 800 feet. With the blustery winds and our thin hiking pants flapping like crazy, we were very careful on the edges.
After a half hour or so, a girl joined us. She was the first person we saw on the trail. I had expected more people, but was pleased with our solitude. We ate lunch next to what I call a “Georgia O’Keeffe Juniper”, a wonderful, twisted tree like many of the ones she painted.
We started down and the light got even softer.
The wind was picking up and we had to hold onto our hats. We began to see more groups on the trail and were happy we had so much of the hike to ourselves.