Snow Paints O’Keefe’s “The White Place”


After a January visit to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, it became essential to my mental well-being that we load up Gilda, the EuroVan, and head north to Plaza Blanca, or The White Place as Ms. O’Keeffe referred to the locale in the Abiquiu, NM region. Plaza Blanca was one of the subjects of her New Mexico art projects.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s “The White Place”

Now, it’s been pretty cold in the northern part of New Mexico. Snow has painted the soil white. I thought that as part of my project to photograph the places where O’Keeffe painted, that white snow around white rocks would be fun and give the photos a different bend.

Fortunately, Spouse ixnayed taking Gilda into the Plaza Blanca area. Fortunately, he has a nameless black 4X4 truck that made more sense when going into the semi-back country after a snowfall, and conquering icy and muddy dirt roads of questionable repute. So, Gilda remained garaged this time.

Getting There. Just past Bode’s Store on northbound 84, look for a blue county road sign #155. Turn right. You will cross a rather wide arroyo (and if this is during the monsoon season be extremely mindful of this arroyo and rushing water. Don’t try crossing if the water in the arroyo pulsates. If you do try crossing a the storm-fed waterway, you might get a floating ride into the nearby Chama River and you will surely miss Plaza Blanca!). Now, the directions we used

Balancing Rock
This you can see from the highway.

were in a locally produced book that was 25 years old. The noted landmarks no longer exist. So the best I can explain is that once you cross the arroyo watch for a narrow dirt road on your left. You’ll see the massive white rocks and a balancing rock from your car. That’s where you want to turn.

This takes you on to private property owned by the Dar al-islam Foundation. A Mosque is further along this road, although we didn’t attempt to go that far. The foundation graciously allows the public to visit The White Place.

The limestone rock formations are just one of the many spectacular geologic features of New Mexico.


Park where there are wide spots. With your hiking shoes firmly attached, and water in your backpack, find a suitable path, possibly along a dry waterway, to get up close and personal.


Spring brings color back to the local trees. Summer will be warm. It’s a good time to be aware of local wildlife, like rattlesnakes and such. Give them space and don’t play with them because they don’t know how to play nice. Fall will bring out the gold in the river lined cottonwoods. Our January visit had the snow around the rocks, which was exactly what I wanted for my photo venture. The plus was there were absolutely zero people that we had to share all that space with.

Downside: Slobs and lazy asses seem to think that dumping their old furniture and appliances is ok on the property. I don’t like that at all.


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