Simple Pleasures  LbNA # 11317

Placed DateSep 22 2004
CountyRio Arriba
LocationAbiquiu, NM
Found By (hidden)
Hike Distance?

We always seem to have such a nice time visiting "Georgia O'Keeffe country" in north central New Mexico, so when Laurette (from RI) sent us out with a box called "Simple Pleasures", we decided to plant it in the little town of Abiquiu off route 44 between Espanola and Tierra Amarilla. While driving through this splendid high desert setting, simply turn off at the sign for the library and head up the hill on the paved road to the left just before the Abiquiu post office. Within less than a minute, the road turns to dirt and you almost feel like you've been transported back 200 years into the Spanish colonial period as you enter the earthen town plaza with its adobe walls and Church of San Tomas. You can park here near the library, if you wish, then continue on the dirt road to the east that you passed just before the entrance to the plaza.

This road will take you along the adobe walls of what was artist Georgia O'Keeffe's home for much of her later life. (She purportedly bought the ranch in 1945 for $10 and a sizeable donation to the local church!) The house itself is only open to visitors who have made reservations months in advance, but you can catch a glimpse as you go past, and then shortly thereafter, bear right uphill to view another interesting vestige of the past. The narrow windowless adobe to your left is a "penitente morada", a stopover place for members of a wandering penitential brotherhood, thought to be the first such location for one in New Mexico. No trespassing here, but continue uphill to the first big juniper on your right. From its south side you can see a fence corner about 12 steps away at 240 degrees, and another 12 steps at 220 degrees will take you to a big rock with several smaller stones filling the overhang. Removing a few of them will reveal "Simple Pleasures", Laurette's lovely little vase of flowers, blooming here in the desert in a spirit akin to that of Georgia O'Keeffe. After replacing the flowers carefully for others to enjoy, consider traveling on up route 44 several miles to Ghost Ranch, another place where O'Keeffe lived and painted for many years. This is a spot just brimming full of simple pleasures, and another letterbox of rtrw's that we planted here in a box canyon on a previous CDT work trip. Hope you take some time to enjoy this high desert country!

Reported as OK on Jan 5, 2005