Day 32: Ghost Ranch, 0 miles, ~557 miles total
It’s hard for me to stay still and lounge about in a place like Ghost Ranch! There are history tours. Museums with dinosaurs and artifacts if people who lived here for more than 9,000 years. A library with books galore on natural history, poetry, art, old editions of High Country News, and charming children’s books with stories that take me back to grade school. A day isn’t enough to soak it all in and I want to learn as much as possible. As well as eat, sleep, write to loved ones, read, and talk to hikers. I scurry about like a squirrel. Gabriel enjoys the comfort of reading Jane Austin and mystery novels in our room.
A few tidbits of information that I internalize: Cerro Pedernal the mountain, we have glimpsed for days and now have a sweeping view of, was central to people who lived here pre-Spanish introduction of horses, as the peak provided material essential for cutting tools. Georgia O’Keefe first came to the ranch in 1934 and later stayed to paint the red and black mudstone hills. And those hills were formed 200 million years ago in the Triassic era, when Ghost Ranch was near the equator of Pangaea.
More: there are always connections to home. The ranch was donated to the Presbyterian Church by Arthur Pack and family. Arthur was the son of Charles Lathrop Pack, the same Pack family that donated Pack Forest to UW. The forest where I spent many a class field trip and Garb Day, during undergrad and grad school. While in one of the museums, I overhear visitors talk about upcoming visits to Seattle and how beautiful it is in Washington. I smile to myself. It is good to hear others talk of home. It reminds me of how amazing it is back home. How much I love it. And how much I appreciate having a great home to return to after this adventure.
Later on, after dinner, Gabriel and I stroll up Pack mesa to eat ice cream and admire the views. Mesas, Perdernal, the Colorado Plateau, the direction of the trail we hiked to reach Ghost Ranch. Having had a day to learn a little about this storied place gives me all the more appreciation for this moment.