la Bajada

Postcard, c. 1920

On Back:
"La Bajada" is Spanish for "The Descent" or "The Drop," and descent or drop it certainly is, for it is a drop of about 800 feet from the rim of the mesa to the foot of the hill, which makes a drop of about 1,000 feet to the lowland. The road, one and a half miles long, is one of the marvels of road building in America, for it is cut out of volcanic lava in the face of an almost sheer precipice. It has 23 hair-pin turns, some of them having a very steep grade. In spite of all this, the road is perfectly safe, as all the turns are widened to accommodate the largest automobiles, and those that might prove dangerous have stone retaining walls on the outside to prevent cars going off the road and down the cliff. The trip up or down La Bajada is always remembered by those going to or from the Pacific Coast over the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway.

[click for larger]

Our friend James kindly indulged us (me) in a quest to see the famous "descent." After successfully navigating down the "23 hair-pin turns" in his Land Cruiser, we tried (unsuccessfully — most likely on private and/or Cochiti Pueblo lands) to find the remains of a ghost town at the foot of the hill.

Dinner and drinks later at James's place, with his heeler-mix, Shadow.

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