About an hour north of Santa Fe on the Chama River lies the small village of Abiquiu. Little has changed here since the Spanish first settled this valley in the early 1700’s. This was the starting point for the Spanish Trail, and is also famous for being the home of Georgia O’Keefe and the Ghost Ranch where she lived and painted from 1929 until her death in 1984. Many of her famous works depict the stunning scenery of this valley.
Just outside of town there is a Trappist monastery where the monks still make Trappist ale. A throwback to the early Spanish missionaries that first came here. I’ve floated by it before during a raft trip on the Chama. I don’t drink anymore and I never did like beer when I did drink, but I can only imagine a bunch of monks with vows of silence getting trashed on Trappist Ale! I skipped visiting there, but I hear it’s pretty awesome !
Today Abiquiu is mainly an artists village where the latino culture runs deep. You can feel the rich culture as you drive in to this stark and stunningly beautiful landscape. If you ever visit here I’m sure you will feel it also…….
I’ve driven through this valley many times on my way to Santa Fe and taking out after raft trips on the Chama River, but this time I took a little time to see the sights and take some pictures. I hope you enjoy them!
I stopped at the Santa Rosa de Lima cathedral and walked around for a little while. It was very serene and I had the place all to myself. A blue bird day alone with my thoughts…….
Today the site of Santa Rosa de Lima is a ghost town, but the adobe ruins remain, and you can still see the mounds where the Spanish settlers adobe houses once stood.
The village was founded in 1734 when Spanish settlers arrived in the Rio Chama Valley, but repeated raids by Utes and Commanche Indians caused the settlement to be abandoned. By 1750 the Spanish founded a new settlement at present day Abiquiu, about a mile up the road. The church was in use up until the 1930’s when it fell into disrepair but the property is still owned by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe.
It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and it doesn’t get much more historic than this. It’s been here since before there was a United States of America!
I stopped at a road side shrine on the way into the valley. I had stopped here before and remembered how cool it was. The Latino Catholic culture in New Mexico takes Catholicism VERY seriously! I on the other hand had it shoved down my throat as a child and have shunned organized religion ever since!
This is the place where I got “the knock” one night back in early 2015. I was dating an art teacher at the time and we were headed to Santa Fe for the weekend to visit the amazing art museums there. If you want to impress an art teacher take her to see art!
It was late and I was tired so we pulled over in the campground and crashed in the back of my Toyota pick up. It was 10 bucks. Cheap digs for the night. In the morning we would have a quick one hour drive to the plaza and all it’s delightful sights, smells, tastes and scenery!
Later that night (around 3 AM) I was jolted awake by someone banging on my camper cab yelling “Rio Arriba County Sheriff!” It was in late winter and well below freezing. He probably was surprised to see campers when it was that cold outside!
I jumped up. I was naked. I threw the camper cab door open and replied ” I’m sleeping! What the f*** do you want! I paid my money for this site, it’s in the drop box at the gate! ” and then slammed the cab door! I’m sure he saw my “green and whites” (Colorado plates) and assumed I was a marijuana trafficker making a late night rendezvous with some New Mexican drug dealer! How wrong he was! It was just a pissed off naked red head who was trying to get some sleep. After I slammed the door in his face he left. I’m surprised he didn’t arrest me right then and there. But he probably had night terrors from seeing my naked ass, or a boner from seeing the cute little art teachers titties! I laugh about it now , but it wasn’t funny at the time!
The Land of Entrapment. I meant Enchantment. But seriously , I love the home of the green chile! If you’re ever here you have to try a green chile cheeseburger, and take in the gorgeous landscape and rich culture of this state! Before all the other Coloradans discover how awesome this place really is!