Georgia O’Keeffe and Ghost Ranch

These “oh duh” moments seem like they oughta be connected to some twinkle that resides deep in the murky recesses of my tiny brain (more on the tiny brain later). Little gems just waiting for me to cash in on them. But the bytes of data have either been filed in the wrong location or they’ve been completely deleted. Time to reload and continue building the foundation of this trek.

Georgia O’Keeffe

When I think of her, a mythical goddess takes shape much like her paintings, which are bold and beautiful and have heart written all over them. But what do I really know about Georgia O’Keeffe? Nothing. Her almighty superstar status materializes out of what? Call it a hunch I guess. So imagine my surprise and wonder and quickened heartbeat when I finally made the connection between she and Ghost Ranch, one of my destinations along the CDT in northern New Mexico!

Georgia O'Keeffe, My Front Yard, Summer, 1941
Georgia O’Keeffe, My Front Yard, Summer, 1941

Georgia O’Keeffe first visited Ghost Ranch in 1934, then a dude ranch. After that visit she started spending half of each year in New Mexico and in 1940 was able to purchase a small piece of Ghost Ranch for her solitude, painting and exploring. Her time in and around Ghost Ranch inspired some of her most well known work. In 1977, O’Keeffe wrote: “[the] cliffs over there are almost painted for you—you think—until you try to paint them.” By 1949, Georgia called New Mexico home where she resided until her death in 1986. It’s not too much of a stretch to think of Georgia O’Keeffe and New Mexico as one. After doing a little reading, her remarkable qualities seep through the words. Comfortable with solitude and herself. Adventurer. Loner. Strong. Portraits filled with side profiles, no smiles. Recluse. Free Spirit. Woman. A woman who didn’t give a fuck.


I can’t wait to walk through New Mexico and see the landscape that shaped the life and artistry of Georgia O’Keeffe. To be in awe. To be inspired.

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