Scenic Drive: Abiquiu, Heron Lake and Cumbres Pass

Last week I took a scenic drive into northern New Mexico through O’Keeffe Country where famous artist Georgia O’Keeffe painted her mountain The Pedernal and other famous works, past lake Abiquiu to Tierra Altierra and Heron Lake.  Coming back from the lake which is home to salmon, ospreys and eagles, the Brazos Cliffs loom over the Brazos River as it comes down from nearby Colorado.  From there I drove north into the village of Chama and on into Colorado where I crossed the Cumbres Pass at 10,230 feet.  Route 17 curved towards the east to Altonita and I saw some gorgeous mountain scenery while negotiating a few snow covered sections going down mountain.  From Altonita, Colorado I went due south, and I do mean due south as US 285 went a good 40 miles with no turns or curves.  I saw antelope on the Taos Plateau but no elk.  A few pictures:

The Pedernal:

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The Brazos Cliffs:

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Heron Lake:

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Cumbres Pass:

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Georgia O’Keefe Country

Famed artist Georgia O’Keefe made New Mexico her home following the death of her husband/collaborator Alfred Steiglitz.  She first began painting in the northern region in 1929 and moved here permanently in 1949.  Her home at Ghost Ranch provided her with stunning visuals and inspiration.  Famous for her paintings of the Pedernal mountain overlooking her home she also composed many pieces of flowers.  Today the Georgia O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe displays her work along with a gift shop where prints, calendars and other memorabilia are for sale.

I drove up through O’Keefe Country as it is known here and the views are spectacular.  I recognized the Pedernal instantly from her many works of it and also enjoyed the views of Abiquiu Lake across Route 84 from Ghost Ranch.  The Rio Chama flows through here and provides rich greenery in a desert landscape.  The lake dams this river providing electricity and a reservoir to a parched region.  Today Ghost Ranch is a 21,000 acre conference center.

Here is a picture of her mountain:

The Rio Chama:

More pictures are below the fold…

The entrance to Ghost Ranch now:

and then:

Scenery surrounding O’Keefe’s cabin:

Here you can see part of Lake Abiquiu: