Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cerro Pedernal

Cerro Pedernal is a narrow mesa that lies at the north end of the Jemez Mountain range, south of Abiquiu Lake. It's highest point is 9,862 feet. The name means "flint hill". It is an area of interesting geology. The peak is capped by the results of lava flows almost 8 million years ago, and the resulting rock is andesite and basalt, which came from the area of Encino Peak, a volcano to the southwest. You can google Cerro Pedernal and find loads of geologic information.

So much for geology. The reason I am intrigued by Cerro Pedernal is because of its role in the life of the late American landscape artist, Georgia O'Keeffe, who lived in the area during the last several decades of her life and for whom Cerro Pedernal was not only a subject for at least a dozen of her paintings but also a mountain she loved and hiked several times.

O'Keefe often called Pedernal her own private mountain, saying "God told me if I painted it often enough I could have it." After her death in 1986 her ashes were scattered at the top.

The day we went to Abiquiu and on up to Echo Amphitheater, the scenery was so utterly stunning that it could take your breath away. But there, for miles, Cerro Pedernal loomed on the western horizon, and my gaze kept returning to it. I could easily see the allure it held for Georgia O'Keefe for so many years of her life.

Here are the photos I took that day:

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