We left Santa Fe and drove north on highway 84, hoping that the slightly overcast skies would clear up.
A few miles north of Española, the Chama River joins the Rio Grande, but I'm not sure if the section shown here is before or after that joining.
We were headed to Ghost Ranch (more on that tomorrow), but the drive took longer than planned because of the frequent stops along the highway for photographs.
We think this drive from Española to Ghost Ranch is one of the most beautiful stretches of highway we have encountered.
The haze had cleared, and we were left with the bluest sky imaginable. Then pair the sky with some of the reddest rock formations, and the result is a beautiful scene for the shutterbug.
And if you are really fortunate--as we were that day--a few cumulus clouds appear in just the right position to complete the picture.
The drive could have been broken down into 500-yard segments if we had had much more time. Each segment reveals a different formation or angle of the formation just photographed up the road.
There are no designated "Scenic View Ahead" spaces to pull off the highway, so we look for driveways or entrances to fields to pull into.
The mountains were on the east side of the highway. We tried to imagine how red these formations would be in the late afternoon (it was getting close to noon when we took these photos). The red would be even stronger.
On the west side of 84 are open spaces. No billboards. No "Future Home of..." signs. Just views to the horizon (in this photo and the third one below).
This was one of the very few trees along the highway, and it seemed as if it was posing for a photograph. Well,...sort of.
We kept thinking that a park would provide trails for safer walks in this area, but even a park would eliminate the feeling that, for a few moments, we had the beauty of these scenes all to ourselves.