wolfe ranch in arches national park

by jani on March 27, 2013

Each year there are an estimated 1.7 to 1.9 million visitors to Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. They visit the park to to see the incredible formations (we did that and you can see our images here)… to hike and sometimes to just sit, ponder and take in some of nature’s most magnificent vistas.

I wonder how many stop to visit Wolfe Ranch. It is, after all, off the main road which takes you to Delicate Arch and everyone wants a photo of this iconic arch! I would, however, suggest to those of you who may visit Arches, to take the left fork and drive the short distance to see this historic building. Then ask yourself, how on earth did Wolfe and his family survive in the middle of nowhere?

At first HB had no interest in walking to see this sad- looking edifice. But on closer inspection… and I mean peering into the windows, we were both taken back by the tiny living space – and immediately wanted to learn all we could about this family and why they would choose this desolate spot to live.

wolfe ranch 4This is apparently the remains of the corral that Wolfe used for his livestock. How did he find water? We saw no nearby water sources when we were there. How far did they have to travel for basic needs? It’s all quite mystifying to me!

wolfe ranch 1There’s no chimney or stove that we could see. How did they cook? How did they keep warm in the cold winter months? The difficulty of this lifestyle has had me pondering ever since we visited this place.

Here’s what we’ve learned from Wikipedia:

“John Wesley Wolfe settled in the location in 1888 with his oldest son Fred. A nagging leg injury from the Civil War prompted Wolfe to move west from Ohio, looking for a drier climate. He chose this tract of more than 100 acres (0.40 km2) along Salt Wash for its water and grassland – enough for a few cattle. The Wolfes built a one-room cabin, a corral, and a small dam across Salt Wash. For more than a decade they lived alone on the remote ranch. In 1906, Wolfe’s daughter Flora Stanley, her husband, and their children moved to the ranch.[2] Shocked at the primitive conditions, Stanley convinced her father to build a new cabin with a wood floor.”

wolfe ranch 2The root cellar-

wolfe ranch 3One thing I realized after our visit to Arches National Park and especially the Wolfe Ranch – just how easy our lives are. We are surrounded by luxuries and yet  find so many things to complain about. We need to take a moment and realize all that we are blessed with on a daily basis.

Have you ever visited Arches National Park? While there, did you stop to see this historic building? Granted it isn’t much, but there’s such a story behind it. If you do go… maybe – just maybe – you’ll look at the water bottle you’re holding in your hand and realize that there was no chore in getting it! As always I welcome your comments.


arches national park

by jani on February 27, 2013

Just about this time each year, we start planning another trip to Moab, Utah. We have fallen in love with the quirky town and the gorgeous parks that are its main draw! One of our favorite destinations is Arches National Park. We have the Lifetime Senior Pass, which costs $10  and allows free entrance into any national park or forest for seniors 62 and older. We highly recommend purchasing this.

Note: There are those (possibly me included) who mistakenly refer to each arch in the park with a plural usage… that’s incorrect. This is Delicate Arch – you may have seen this on Utah license plates.

arches 20

This is a map that (I think?) we picked up at the ranger’s station. I added a few titles to show just how close everything is – and yet you can spend endless hours exploring this awe-inspiring scenery!

arches 0

If you look at the above map, the Three Gossips formation is in the same location as the Courthouse Towers. They just have such a striking difference in their appearance!

arches 1A perfect view of Courthouse Towers.

arches 2

It’s difficult to even comprehend how this rock is being balanced. It has the right name:  Balanced Rock!

arches 4

HB and I enjoying this gorgeous day at Park Avenue… I should have brought my shopping bag!

arches wall street

Since, it’s almost impossible to fit all your activities into one day, might we suggest adding a couple of extra days to your stay in Moab. It is be well worth your time. These extraordinary rock formations are mesmerizing!

Have you traveled to Arches? I’d really encourage you to check out the wonders of this great place…. and again it’s practically in our backyard!


moab from sorrel river ranch

by jani on May 14, 2012

One of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited is just outside Moab, Utah at the Sorrel River Ranch. It is expensive, but fabulous! Need some real R&R? Then Sorrel is the place to be. It’s located off of Highway 128 just about 17 miles northeast of Moab. Those visiting Moab, generally go to see Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Of course you don’t want to miss seeing those beautiful vistas, but hidden off the scenic highway of 128 is a new world of striation and hidden canyons.

The captivating panarama of Sorrel River Ranch. Our room was the building on the far left of this picture. The deck is huge and faces the Colorado River. Except for the occasional sound of the horse’s whinnying, the peace and quiet is perfect. Every now and then you’ll see a blue egret or the deer grazing beside the banks of the meandering river. We were there the beginning of October; a perfect ending to our month long road trip. Just an interesting side note: when Spielberg filmed “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” he booked the entire ranch for most of the cast and crew.

The over sized Adirondack chairs on the front porch are a perfect place to enjoy the scenery of this magnificent place and sit back, relax and in my case, finish my book du jour. Several of the guests we met were enjoying  the comfortably warm evenings with a glass of wine, before heading to bed. Readying themselves, as they plan for another full day of incredible mountain biking, river rafting, hiking, climbing or horseback riding on the many equestrian trails surrounding the ranch. All of these activities can be arranged through the helpful staff.

Another view of Sorrel River Ranch from the hills on the southern side of Highway 128.

A view of Castleton Tower which is seldom seen from this particular angle. This picture was shot while driving the La Sal Mountain Loop Road which runs into Highway 128. It had been a rainy day and I was able to capture this great image of a low hanging cloud as it was passing by the tower. This part of Southern Utah should be on everyone’s bucket list!

In just a matter of moments, the clouds lifted and the blue sky against the red rock was picture perfect (no pun intended…well, maybe a little). This grouping of rocks is called: on the left, The Priest and Nuns and on the right, another view of Castleton Tower, just below Castle Valley driving toward Highway 128.

Another great shot of the Colorado River. It doesn’t really matter that the water is a muddy color from the surrounding eroding sediment. The feeling of serenity is ever present here!

If you’re looking for a peaceful part of the world where you can leave all the hustle and bustle of your normal busier-than-crazy life behind, with the added luxury of a four star resort, Sorrel has my vote. Our Australian Shepherd was welcomed with open paws! She was one happy canine and so were her owners. We actually embraced the 17 mile distance from Moab as we enjoyed the solitude of this beautiful resort. They also have a lovely spa on the property to help release those tired muscles after a busy day of physical exertion. As for us, we just sat back and soaked in all the surrounding glory!

Have you visited this area? I’d love to hear about your travel adventures!