Greetings from San Cristobal and the High Road Village of Llano de San Juan, High Road to Taos.
I’m often on the High Road many times each year. It is a big favorite of my photo tour/workshops. If you want to take a trip back through time, take the High Road to Taos in New Mexico. It is not just a step back in time it’s a giant leap back in time. The villages and hamlets were settled many centuries ago. A lot of what one sees on the High Road to Taos is that old. The village of Las Trampas was settled as far back as the 1750s, and the church, along with an irrigation ditch was built shortly thereafter.
The images in this week’s post were made in Llano de San Juan, a slight detour off the main road. It’s out there with fabulous views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains extending north and south as a backdrop. The church of San Juan Nepomuceno in Llano de San Juan was photographed in the 1940s by Russell Lee for the Farm Services Administration.
I never tire of a trip on the High Road. It takes me back in time to my first visit there in 1984. Here’s what I wrote about my first impressions of this area in New Mexico.
“In Thanksgiving week 1984 I made my first of many trips to New Mexico. On this occasion, five of us friends set out on a foggy morning from Santa Fe and made our way north on the high road to Taos. The sites and sounds on the streets of Santa Fe soon opened up to the immense vistas of mesas, and beyond to the Taos Volcanic Plateau.
“We passed through the village of Chimayo climbing the hill to Truchas (Spanish for Trout). Rapidly gaining elevation the landscape changed to pristine hills of ponderosa pines and rust-colored tones of scrub oak in the undergrowth. The vast square miles of pine trees in the Carson National Forrest were punctuated by the bare, white highlights of lanky aspen. Through the misty veil of condensation on the window, we were afforded more than a subtle hint of what autumn in the high country of New Mexico might have looked like one month earlier.
“Leaving Truchas for Penasco, the fog set in. The temperature dropped in the sparsely populated, mountain communities of Las Trampas and Picuris. The colder air outside the car became magically enhanced by the aroma of piñon and juniper burning in the fireplaces of scattered homes. At this very moment… sometimes you just know it, the mystery of things unknown and northern New Mexico took a very palpable hold on me.
“Not more than four years later, in the spring of 1988 that hold tightened and I moved to a small adobe building, with two fireplaces, in Talpa, NM, and began stockpiling five cords of wood for what promised to be a cold winter that year…
I extended to myself the liberty to create an old photographic look for the following image. I had an old piece of plexiglass lying around. I took it outside and scratched it up with a sheet of sandpaper, followed by a muddy water bath in the driveway. I took a photo of the plexiglass and inverted the image so that the whites became black, creating dark streaks. I like it and have used it on a few other occasions. Here is another photo I created in the Bosque del Apache.
And to end this week’s post is how my day ended last Wednesday with the almost full supermoon rising behind Taos Mountain as seen from the deck.
As always, Thank you for looking. G