For Memorial Day weekend (which was also our 40th wedding anniversary), Bobby and I took some extra time off and spent several days enjoying and exploring the area of northern New Mexico surrounding Abiquiu. Abiquiu, New Mexico, is a little village less than an hour’s drive northwest of Santa Fe. The village has less than 3,000 people and is positioned in one of the most enchanting areas of New Mexico. All around Abiquiu you have breathtaking views, hiking trails, horse riding trails, boating, and hundreds of places to just sit, meditate, pray, whatever your preference, and take in the beauty and uniqueness of the surroundings.
Below is a view of the Cerro Pedernal, the 9,862 ft (3006 meters) landmark of the area. No matter where you drive in the area, you have a view of the Cerro Pedernal. It is a popular site for hiking, rock climbing, and photography. It also has a very interesting Stratigraphy and Geologic History if you are interested. Just click on the link.
If you are familiar with the artist Georgia O’Keefe, then you may also be familiar with Ghost Ranch. At one time it was home and inspiration for Georgia O’Keefe and many other artists. Today Ghost Ranch is an “interfaith education and retreat center of the Presbyterian Church (USA)” with a mission “to enrich lives”. Ghost Ranch – with its picturesque views – is the perfect place for a retreat. I’ve provided the link for you to learn more about it if you are interested and below are some of those views that have inspired painters and photographers for years. (The previous picture was taken from Ghost Ranch as well.)
The Abiquiu reservoir, just west of Abiquiu, New Mexico, and east of Ghost Ranch, is formed by a dam on the Rio Chama. Abiquiu Lake (reservoir) is one of the largest lakes in New Mexico. The lake and its surrounding area is used for boating, camping, picnicking, fishing, and hiking. At sunset it’s quite striking!
The Rio Chama Below the Dam
The Rio Chama is a very popular fly fishing river and, when the dam releases enough water into the river, it makes for good water rafting. During our visit the river was relatively high and quite murky; thus not good for fishing. The day before we left Abiquiu, the flow of water from the dam into the river caused it to drop about 1 ½ feet overnight. One more day and Bobby would have been pulling out his fly fishing gear.
Below are a couple of pictures of the Rio Chama just south of the dam – one we took on this trip and the other we took a couple of years ago in the fall when the cottonwoods were turning.
Back at the House on the Rio Chama
To make our stay as relaxing as possible, we decided to rent a vacation rental on the Rio Chama just east of Abiquiu. It was a wonderful house with all of the comforts of home. When it wasn’t raining, we spent a lot of time reading and relaxing, watching clouds move in and out. Three of the days we were there, the storms built up in the afternoon and provided the area with some desperately needed rain.
During the rain storms, we just moved into the screened porch. Here we could watch the rain and the hummingbirds as they fed before and after the rains hit. One of the first things I did upon arrival was fill up the hummingbird feeder. It took about 2 seconds for the hummers to find it and less than 24 hours to drain it. So everyday I was making another batch, but it was well worth it. If you’ve ever spent time watching hummingbirds, you know what I mean. Bobby captured this short event of the hummers feeding right before a storm hit.
The following picture was taken after the storm had moved through and a rainbow had formed to the east (the first picture). It was actually a double rainbow but the top rainbow is too faint to really see in the picture.
We woke up the morning of our anniversary to clear skies and a crescent moon rising, followed by Venus.
This family of Canadian geese came by as we were packing up to leave. It was like they were coming to wish us a fond farewell.
As you have probably noticed from many of these pictures, New Mexico has some BIG skies and long vistas. I once worked with a woman that only lasted living here for about 6 months. She suffered from Agoraphobia and thus could not handle the vast openness and wide open spaces. The size of the sky was quite overwhelming to her and caused her a considerable amount of stress.
Even though the scenery and the vistas change as you drive through the state, the sky remains a constant. No matter where you go in New Mexico, you’re going to experiences our huge skies which can provide some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see. Unfortunately, because of the cloud cover on our trip, we didn’t get a lot of the golds and reds that can occur, but we still experienced some beautiful sunsets on our visits the reservoir’s viewpoints. You saw “approaching sunset” previously. Now I’ll leave you with a Sunset at Abiquiu Reservoir.
I hope you enjoyed the beauty of the Land of Enchantment in the Abiquiu area.