For the past 2 weeks I’ve been living at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. This trip was a requirement for me to graduate this spring and I’m happy to say that this trip has changed me.
At my University, Carroll University, a graduation requirement was added to our collage path that allowed us to experience a culture unlike our own. The experience had to have been either made by or approved by my university. This trip was to experience the culture of the Native Americans thru their pottery.
I’m not going to lie, I didn’t expect what happened during my 2 weeks in New Mexico. I was very closed minded when thinking about Ghost Ranch; I was thinking we would be on a flat land with one mountain, 40–50F degrees outside and bored to death. Thankfully it turned out to be something I won’t be able to experience again for a long time. Yes, this does imply that the experience was terrible, but trust me when I say “keep reading”.
When we first arrived at the ranch I was pretty amazed, we were surrounded by mesas, hills, and mountains. There was even a lake near by and we were only an hour and a half away from Santa Fe. The temperature was perfect, around 40F degrees, with a beautiful blue sky and a set of welcoming arms from Ghost Ranch Staff. After getting settled in we were introduced to our “mentors/teachers” for our chosen class and went thru the welcome seminar consisting of rules and knowledge about the ranch. Our normal day was: Wake up at 7am, eat breakfast till 9am, tend class till noon, eat lunch, head back to class from 1pm till 3pm and then venture off till dinner at 5:30pm. This was a great schedule for the amount of exploration I was planning on doing with my friends.
The first day after arrival I set out on my first hike, Box Canyon. The difficulty of the path was intermediate and unique. The nature had caught my eye and the path kept bringing on more and more beauty. The path entered a canyon, passing over the small river multiple times. This is where I first found something that changed my perspective, at the end of the path was a frozen waterfall. This was the first time I laid my eyes on something like this and it was quite an adventure on the path to this destination. My friends and I immediately agreed this was the best with no hesitation due to its beauty.
Seven Days Later
It was the end of the first week at Ghost Ranch and I was setting out for a hike up to Chimney Rock for the first time. The travel time up was about 45 minutes and after arriving to the top, we set out on an adventure that would change my life. About an hour to an hour and a half off trail we trekked to the near top of the mountain in the distance. Scaling the steep walls and avoiding the disintegrating rocks we climbed, with a couple close calls we reached a point were I wouldn’t go any further. We might had not made it to the top, but I was within 12 feet of the top and the view was beautiful. The photo below does not depict how amazing the view really was.
This climb and even more so the view will never leave my mind. This is just one of many accomplishments I’ve achieved in life, and something that I’ll cherish and hold onto forever.
Rising and Setting with the Sun
This is something I’ve always wanted to do, capture both the sunset and sunrise as a time-lapse. During the trip I hadn’t noticed how beautiful the sunset truly was until I saw this…
Catching the sunset was a freezing and exciting time. To get the best time-lapse I skipped over dinner and brought some snacks. After setting up on the hill my friend and I chatted and settled in for the evening. As the sun settled in behind the mountain we ooo’d and ahh’d while the stars appeared from the dark sky.
After pulling an all nighter I headed out at 4:15am to get to the top of Chimney Rock to setup to start the time-lapse around 5:15am. While waiting I discovered the most amazing view, as I looked up the sky was filled with thousands of stars, but the part that got to me was the feeling of being in a dome and the fact that they seemed so close to me that I could touch each and every star with a single hop.
The Hike up the Kitchen Mesa Trail
I mentioned earlier that this trip has changed me, well this was the start of another path that would show me how amazing nature is. After walking for a couple of hours, tirelessly we reached the wall of the Kitchen Mesa. This area of the hike was difficult and some people did decide not to proceed up the wall. Pressing up against the wall of the mesa we slowly inched our way across the icy path. Without injury we started climbing a section of the wall that eased us our fear of slipping and falling off the side of the mesa. Finally reaching the top we took a right, hiking on the trail. Only 15 minutes later did we reach Kitchen Mesa and stop to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The day before leaving a couple of us headed out on the Kitchen Mesa once again, except with a new endeavor. We planned to hike to a peak you could only see from the top of Kitchen Mesa, this peak was higher than our previous achievement past Chimney Rock. Instead of taking a right where we previously did, we headed left straight off the trail. Following deer tracks we hiked over hills, planning our next point of attack. The only thing holding us back was the air which got thinner and thinner as we hiked up the side of the peak. Rocks crumbling in our hands, sliding down, repositioning our feet — we kept climbing only to finally reach the top of the peak. Out of breath we clambered to the edge of the peak and gazed out into the open. In awe we saw everything, Kitchen Mesa, the lake, the mountains, even the a mountain range in Colorado. I can only say that pictures don’t do justice of the view.
My trip has made me realize what is beyond my comfort-zone, that you should take chances even if they might hurt if you fall (or fail) & most importantly enjoy the view and moments you experience in life. Take time to soak up the moments you get and make more for yourself.