Exploring The White Place Near Abiquiu

Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
By GEORGE MORSE
Sports and Outdoors
Los Alamos Daily Post
 
All throughout Northern New Mexico are hidden natural wonders that will reward someone willing to seek them out and expend a little shoe leather.
 
In the beautiful landscape surrounding the small village of Abiquiu lie many of these little pockets of unique formations sculpted over the eons by the relentless effects of wind and water.
 
Abiquiu is known around the world as the home of the late artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Her paintings feature many of the natural features surrounding Abiquiu The White Place (Plaza Blanca) is one of those natural wonders. It was the inspiration of several of her paintings. A little off the beaten path, the tilted white beds at O’Keefe’s painting location are reworked (eroded and re-deposited) volcanic ash and sediments of the (geologically) famous Abiquiu Formation, roughly 20 to 28 million years old. The sedimentary beds of the Abiquiu Formation originate from sources in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The solidified ash has been eroded and transformed into a labyrinth of spires and small canyons.
 
To reach the White Place, take Us Highway 84 north from Espanola. About 12 miles north of Espanola, there’s a right turn to El Rito on State Road 554. After crossing the bridge over the Chama River, take an immediate left on to County Road 155. After about three miles on 155, look for a high gate on the right hand side of the road with the words “Dar al Islam” inscribed on it. Turn here on to a dirt road. After several hundred yards the road will fork. The left fork leads to the Dar al Islam Mosque and Islamic education center. The right fork will lead to a small parking area and a locked gate.
 
From the parking area, you can see some of the formations that make up the White Place. There are hiking trails that will lead you into a fascinating landscape of eroded pillars of rock and small side canyons. These formations are fragile and please respect them.
 
The White Place is on private property owned by Dar al Islam. They have kept it open to the public.
 
The following photo gallery was taken on a day that had some sunshine but was mostly overcast. The sunlight can magically transform the natural features depending on the time of day and the conditions. 
 
One visit here is hardly enough to unveil all the beauty and the secrets of the White Place.
 
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from the White Place near Abiquiu. Photo by George Morse/ladailypost.com
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