I chose to write about my trip to Ghost Ranch as my first blog post because this trip was a pivotal moment in my life where I knew everything would be different from here on out. I had recently gone through some pretty intense life changes and decided to take a long-awaited trip out to Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Ghost Ranch for those of you who don’t know is where the iconic American painter, Georgia O’Keeffe lived for a large part of her life and where so many of her breathtaking paintings were inspired from.
As one of many artists I have admired, Georgia O’Keeffe has been a source of inspiration for me over the years. She was the focus of my studies when I was younger, along with others such as Degas and Pollock. This had been a dream of mine to visit the landscape that captivated O’Keeffe’s heart, mind, and soul. I was at a point in my life that I needed and wanted to be inspired, so why not go to the source of inspiration?
From Santa Fe, Ghost Ranch is an easy hour and a half drive. Approaching Ghost Ranch from US-84 I quickly began to see what drew O’Keeffe to this magnificent place. The landscape opened up to this geological wonderment of color and detail. The photographer in me wanted to stop and take pictures every five minutes as I continued to drive. Turning onto the property, a flood of emotions came over me as I took witness to this vibrant and awe-inspiring landscape that was laid out in front of me. I was so happy to have finally made it and in a strange sense, it felt like coming home.
Sitting in the car for a bit before heading to the visitor center, I gathered my thoughts to appreciate the moment I was in. I registered myself and what trail I planned to hike (because I did not want this story to end with “tourist lost at Ghost Ranch”). I took the most difficult trail on the property, Kitchen Mesa. By no means a long trail but there were some technical parts and required a little bit of scrambling. I will hastily admit (as an avid hiker from Colorado) that I did get a bit turned around, well really….I got lost.
The trail was fairly well marked by old rusted tin cans and cairns. But in typical fashion, I was so memorized by what was around me that I zigged when I should have zagged (or however that saying goes). As I started to panic I felt a bit of fear and self-doubt sink in. What was I doing? What if I am really lost out here by myself? You silly girl, why did you think you could do this on your own?
I stopped, took a deep breath and told myself just go back to where you got lost, which I did and instantly I saw where I went wrong. As I got back on the right path I quickly approached the top of Kitchen Mesa and the views that lay before me quite literally took my breath away. The landscape was full of rich colors, diverse geography, and expansive views, it was a sight I will never forget. I left feeling as inspired as I had anticipated I would. Inspired artistically, emotionally and physically.
There is a quote from the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed that I remind myself of daily, “There is a sunrise and a sunset every day. You can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.” This is how I view the world and how I operate JLH in DESIGN. I choose to see the beauty in everyday life and that is truly what inspires me in everything I design, photograph and write.