If there’s one word I’d use to describe Ghost Ranch, it would be: Quiet.
We’re here before busy season when they house 500 people a night, coming from all over to marvel at the rocks and visit the home of Georgia O’Keefe. But for now, it’s us, about two dozen people who showed up in a tour bus (and left sometime today) and about a dozen hikers.
Breakfast is a social affair. The long tables get filled and it almost becomes a competition to see who can eat the most. The hikers headed out that day seem to do well, as do the ones who came in too late to get dinner last night (or got lunch yesterday and opted to skip dinner).
I knew I was among friends when I leaned back and said, “I know I could fit more food in my belly, I just don’t know if I should. Or need to.”
Jefe, sitting next to me, stopped, fork halfway to his mouth, “I don’t understand that statement.”
We get an hour to eat and the buffet, and the clock is watched closely with final apples and oranges snagged for snacks during the day.
We had a tentative plan to relax for the day. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend a zero day and spent the morning writing post cards, sitting on the main front porch talking to various people as they came and went.
And then I got antsy. “Let’s ride to Abiquiu. Let’s hit up the trails by the dam and then take the river road! It’ll be like a bike riding lunch date!”
I’m still not sure how I convinced Scott that this was a good idea. We needed trail food, but we could have made do with hiker box leftovers and the gift shop on site. It also wouldn’t have been hard to hitch a ride to town.
We rolled out just shy of noon. The 7 miles of highway seemed easy on unloaded bikes. Turning off, we quickly found the trail on the map that we’d picked up from the Abiquiu dam visitors center.
When we picked it up, we were warned that they were intermediate trails.
“Are you intermediate riders?” the ranger had asked us.
“I think we’ll be okay.”
The trails, in one word, were awesome. Clearly, a mountain biker had built them and they traversed the edge of the lake on chunky slickrock. We were a little surprised. So surprised, in fact, that we stopped at the visitors center again after riding the western edge of their 4-mile loop to complement them on their trail building.
We also learned that they’re a bunch of mountain bikers there (run by the Army Corp of Engineers) and that they’d just gotten a grant to hire a bunch of people to train to build trails on their land, and then to send them up to Ghost Ranch to build. The master plan was to build a trail connecting the 7 miles between the dam and Ghost Ranch. It would be the ultimate CDT bike connection.
We took the meandering river road the 7 miles to Abiquiu for lunch and supplies. It’s a neat little store in the middle of nowhere and we had a lovely little date before loading the bikes up with 3 days worth of food, and starting back from where we came.
Riding the eastern edge of the singletrack loop was just frosting on the cake.
We’ve spent the evening puttering around the property, checking out the different historical buildings and learning about the history of the ranch. We check out tomorrow, but are planning on visiting the two museums on the property and spending a little time in the Zen garden before leaving…because really, when are we ever going to come back here again?
This traveling without being in a rush thing…I could get used to it. In fact, I already have.