Plaza Blanca, or the ‘white place’, rests protected and guarded in a valley of the Rio Chama hills.  Made famous by a 1940 painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, the sense inside the walls and spires of white sandstone is that it’s been long forgotten; so lonely that it whispers to itself for company. And for the pleasure of an experience like that on a planet with nearly 7 Billion people, the short trek is well worth it.

The White Place

Plaza Blanca late day

Having hiked in 3 times during the Abiquiu road trip, if you’re wanting to photograph this place, late afternoon presents the most dramatic lighting.

The White Place

Plaza Blanca, The White Place. Taken at 5:48 pm in November.

The White Place

Plaza Blanca. Taken late in the day, mid November.

Not that a morning hike can’t yield something worthwhile… they just take a little more work in the darkroom.

The White Place

Plaza Blanca in the morning, 9:06 am.

The White Place

Plaza Blanca taken at 8:31 am, mid November.

The White Place

Plaza Blanca in the morning.

Now that I see my photos side by side, forget what I said earlier about late afternoon. You can’t go too early or the sun won’t have crested the horizon enough to light the area. Same goes with evening – too late and it’s all shadow.

Carry a small backpack and water. Don’t take too much photography gear else you’ll miss the point of the place.  Which is something you’ll figure out once in there (the important thing to know is that there IS a point).  Me – I thought about dying in there and the tragedy of missing out on another Bode’s green chili cheeseburger but quickly jumped to how hard it is to fix our shortcomings but we can do a darn good job with well placed patches, that my camera gear was a burden, how interesting the miniature spires mimicking the big ones were and that several phallic symbols were prominent, the footprints I keep seeing could be God’s, yikes is that a coyote, look at the rabbit, I need to see the eye doctor when I get home, cursing how hard the rocks are as I lie back while the sun warmed my face and the air tickled my hair, the camera gear forgotten, death replaced by life, tears at the beauty, solitude whispers, the peace and quiet everywhere, including my head.

The White Place

Plaza Peace

Other New Mexico related posts in this series:

The Abiquiu Inn

Abiquiu – The Penitente Morada

Abiquiu – Plaza Blanca

Abiquiu – The Dar al Islam Mosque


The Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail

New Mexico Travel Sites:

Hatch Chile Festival – September 3,4, 2011

New Mexico Tourism

Where to buy hatch chiles

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