New Mexico continues to amaze me with all the places I haven’t seen in the fifteen years I’ve lived here. I’m certain the same is true for most of your reading this blog. Here are my notes on North Central New Mexico!
This week is another of those “WOW – I didn’t know this was here” trips. Our first stop was the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Spa and Resort. Tucked away in Ojo Caliente right off Route 84 (?) this is one incredible place to spend a couple of days. Soaking in mineral baths under the stars is a pretty awesome way to spend an evening. The mud baths are rejuvenating and the food is excellent! You should give it a try!
Just up the road in Abiquiu is Ghost Ranch, made famous by Georgia O’Keeffe’s New Mexico paintings. Did you know that Ms. O’Keeffe didn’t own Ghost Ranch but lived on a few acres there? I didn’t and also was unaware of the many things to do at Ghost Ranch … from painting and exploring to looking for dinosaur bones and taking classes on a wide variety of subjects. Or, just spending family time there horseback riding. Incredible things to do for folks of all ages. I’m planning on taking my family there for a few days to relax, unwind and learn!
Chama is one of those real hidden treasures. It’s more like the Northwest than what most of us believe New Mexico to be. Moderate days, cool nights. On our summer trip there was no air conditioning and the fresh air blowing through the open windows with a blanket pulled up around me put a huge smile on my face! Big trees … lots of green all around and a truly wonderful place to spend time relaxing, fishing and just enjoying the scenery.
Speaking of scenery … when in Chama you must ride the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. You’ll learn a lot about the history of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado as you wind you way through the mountains crossing back several times between the two states. This is a great all day family adventure on an old coal fired and steam driven locomotive. I promise this is a trip you’ll want to take more than once.
I loved my time on the Jicarilla Apache Nation in Dulce, just a few miles from Chama. The people are wonderful … the fishing and boating pristine (I hear the hunting is exceptional) and the native baskets and beadwork art is second to none. I bought a great purse there for Janine that is beadwork on an animal skin (deer, I think!). She loved it and I enjoyed talking with the artist who created it. Watching these ladies piece together the beaded pieces and making baskets is really something unique to see. I still can’t figure out how they do what they do and I walked away with an increasing appreciation for the history and culture of these great people. And the land they live on is something spectacular to see, too!
It’s not a long drive from Ojo Caliente to Chama and Dulce. If you want to do this trip right then make sure you plan three or four days. If you want to do some great fly fishing and/or hunting I’d make it a week!