Bonus Trip Report: Traipsing Through The High Desert

I'm sitting on my couch on this Saturday morning, rested and recovered from my whirlwind trip through the southwest, and feeling very excited about what's around the corner for me and my work... but first, I promised you a trip report with pictures, so here goes! If you want more pictures, take a look at my Instagram.

Travel to Durango went very smoothly, and I got in to Cloud Ranch around 8 pm. The sun had set and I was feeling tired but relaxed from the long day, so I settled in for a sleep after meeting Candyce and her dogs, Django and Luna (who I drew these pictures of!)


The next day I went into town to help with set up of my work at the Durango Art Center - they'd already done most of the work which was awesome, so I wandered around downtown for a couple of hours before picking up some yarn on my way back to the ranch to relax till my family got into town πŸ˜‰

It was a delightful twist of fate that my family got to be there with me - my parents and 18 yo brother Logan happened to be moving back to California from Nebraska during the time my reception was scheduled, and they picked up my other brother Ryan from his home in Colorado on their way down! We enjoyed the ranch and each other's company while we waited for the reception to start.


Finally it was reception time! My work was in the entrada - so everyone had to go through it in order to get to the other shows. Extra foot traffic is never a bad thing! I had several folks come over and ask me questions, and I even sold a painting!! Definitely a morale boost - especially since I had pretty effectively set my expectations low based on past experience at opening receptions, haha. It was a great turnout and I got a great response!

That night I said goodbye to my family since they had to be on their way to the next stage of their trip early the next morning. I had a relaxing morning on Saturday... I enjoyed a homemade breakfast by Candyce, a few more moments with the pups, and soaking up the patio at Cloud Ranch.

I had to pull myself away at some point, and Candyce recommended I stop at Chimney Rock National Monument and Pagosa Springs, and I am so glad I did! Always take the local's recommendations when you travel, folks. It always pays off.

Chimney Rock (and Companion Rock, to the left) is yet another southwestern geological wonder in that every 18 years it perfectly frames the lunar standstill. Ancient Pueblans built a bunch of structures, some for living and some for ceremony, up on this big ol' crest of rock where you can get an excellent view of that framing when it happens. Methinks there is a future painting based on this trip! (Also note my flip flops in the "made it to the top" photo - yes it was a bit of a scramble, but you can hardly count a 200 foot gain as a hike, haha).


After that delicious little detour I continued on the way and stopped in Pagosa Springs, which is known for it's hot springs. There are free ones you can park close to and dip your feetsies in, which I helped myself to before I got rained out. That was fun in its own right!


I managed to time my trip to be driving through Abiquiu at golden hour - SO worth it! The Echo Amphitheater was back lit but still lovely and awe-inspiring, and I got some great shots of the lovely rocks from the side of the road.


I arrived in Santa Fe after dark to my friend Roxanne Darling's loft where she had a perfect little set up for me to come home to after long days of gallery-viewing. The next day I went downtown and enjoyed some Fry Bread at the Fiesta that was happening in the plaza between visiting galleries. A little later in the afternoon I walked over to another yarn shop where they were having a social knitting session and of course I had some socks with me so I took a seat and socialized for a bit! And left with some yarn, obviously.

Later that evening, Roxanne and I went to Meow Wolf, which was absolutely delightful and so much fun! I would recommend it to anyone in the area (and they're opening new spaces in Las Vegas and Denver!). It was a playground of sci-fi, the paranormal, crazy colors, sounds, stories, secrets, and so much more. I loved it!!


The next day I went to explore Canyon Road to visit some of the galleries that had long been on my list to visit. I was not disappointed!! By the time Roxanne met up with me and we went to a couple other big galleries in the rail yard I was galleried out, haha. But also full of inspiration and ideas and excited to get back into the studio!

The next morning I made a quick stop over at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument on my way to Albuquerque to catch my plane - totally worth it! I only wish I had more time to hike. And so another idea for a painting is hatched...


The last leg of the journey turned out to be its own adventure when my 7:11pm departure time from Atlanta to Richmond turned into a 6:00 am departure time! By the time they let us know the flight was leaving in the morning it was after midnight and too late to find and get to a hotel and back in time for security and departure, so I just stayed put. I tried sleeping but it was too loud and bright for any of that, so instead I put on The Dark Crystal and knit through the wee hours of the morning. I finally got home at 9 am on Wednesday and collapsed into bed for a few hours of sleep before waking up and trying to get some client work done!

And now it's the weekend, which means lazy mornings and bike rides and pet portrait making and putting the house in order before the next week begins on Monday... and I am raring to get back to my easel after this adventure in the southwest!

Follow along on what I'll be working on over on Instagram and stay tuned for the next newsletter in just a few weeks.

Thanks for reading & being along for the ride,

β™₯︎ Ciara