ranchos de los brujos y georgia

the artist

saturday, we decided it was good day for another adventure. our first stop of the day was the Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu (about 50 miles to the south & west of Taos.)

the Ghost Ranch is most famous for having been a home of Georgia O'Keeffe. Also known as Ranchos de los Brujos, it got its name from the wandering spirits said to haunt the canyons looking for hidden gold.

my front yard - autumn, 1941, O'Keeffe

O'Keeffe started visiting New Mexico in 1929, staying with friends in Taos. her curiousity was piqued by this tucked away place (at the time, it was a dude ranch). in 1934, she began renting a cabin & spending her summers there. she eventually bought a crumbling adobe on the property, called Ranchos de los Burros. and this became her permanent summer residence. she claimed she knew it had to be hers the moment she had seen the place. and that its one room was empty except for a ghost.

"I wish you could see what I see out the window--the earth pink and yellow cliffs to the north--the full pale moon about to go down in an early morning lavender sky... pink and purple hills in front and the scrubby fine dull green cedars--and a feeling of much space--It is a very beautiful world." She wrote in 1942 in a letter to a friend.

view from the cabin at ranch entrance


overlooking the ranch

white bone on adobe 

cerro pedernal

O'Keeffe's works have resonated with me since I was a teenager. It was the late 80's, just after her death, and during a bit of a new awareness of her work. And while much was being made of the feminism & sensuality of her images, I found myself simply fascinated by the boldness of her curves and the richness of her colors. I liked the world she saw. So of course, it was meaningful to now stand among her landscape, and see such inspiration. the famous cliffs, the Pedernal & all those colors in reds, purples, blues and browns. the starkness of white.

red hills and pedernal, 1936, O'Keeffe

purple hills, 1934, O'Keeffe

we can't visit her actual home as it is off limits to the public. which makes sense since she was famous for desiring her solitude. (reading this old article is fun though.) we were told by a museum guide that if we were to climb a mile & 1/2 up to the Chimney Rock, we'd be able to look down and see the house. (and we just may do that on some nice hiking day.)

but we walked all over the Ranch. saw some dinosaur bones which had been discovered there. listened to the trees. and wondered just how awesome it would have been, as a dude ranch in the 1940s. or as a guest of O'Keeffe.

red & yellow cliffs 

road to the ranch, 1964, O'Keefe

(click on captions for links)


  1. Thanks for sharing this! I, also, have been a long time admirer of Georgia's work! We did the O'Keeffe trek to Abiquiu one summer. We stopped by the D.H. Lawrence ranch and I laid under the tree that was her inspiration for "The Lawrence Tree". It was amazing. We also stopped at a little hole in the wall place along highway 84 (I think) and had the best, and hottest, Indian tacos we've ever tasted! Thanks for sharing this. I linked to your blog through a facebook friend (I'm from Newton).

    1. thank you fellow Newtonian! we hope to visit the Abiquiu area again for a hike and more inspiration. am glad you enjoyed my post.


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