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.


the bakery at windy ridge – park city, utah

by jani on February 11, 2013

When I was a little girl, growing up in the Sacramento Valley, one of my favorite adventures with my parents was “a trip above the fog,” as my dad referred to it. We would drive up to Auburn, where the sun was brightly shining. As we reached higher elevation, I would look back over the valley with its covering of that heavy gray blanket of fog or as they call it here… Inversion… that awful nine-letter word!

So, H.B. and I have been taking a few daytrips this winter, to go above the fog, haze, ugly pollution, inversion… whatever you’d like to call it. It has been delightful and we have discovered a few new favorite stops in our treasured Park City, Utah.

I’d like to introduce you to The Bakery at Windy Ridge. It’s located directly behind the Windy Ridge Cafe owned and operated by the same gastronomers, Bill White Restaurant Group who brought to Park City some of the finest eateries including:  Grappa, Wahso, Ghidottis, Chimayo, and Sushi Blue. “The Bakery“, as most residents refer to it, advertises “Breads, Pasties and Delectables”…  both sweet and savory.

bakery 5The Bakery is located at 1750 Iron Horse Drive.

bakery Collage 2There are always so many enticing pastries to choose from… the question is,which ones do we end up with? There were chocolate eclairs, beautifully arranged fruit tarts, pecan tarts, cupcakes, raspberry chocolate mini cakes, pear tarts, lemon bars and apple pies that looked heavenly. We knew before even entering The Bakery that we would be going home with their marvelous macarons (today’s flavors were pomegranate, brandy and raspberry)

bakery 10

bakery 7Yes, the apples seem to be bursting out of the pie shell of the “Mile High Apple Pie”.

019Here’s the talented Executive Pastry Chef, Stephanie Krizman, who created all of these delights. After she told us that she added maple to the pecan tarts, we knew we had to try them.

bakery 9These pecan tarts, with just a hint of real maple syrup, are just as good as they look! In fact, they may be my new favorite dessert – and a very good reason to go take another trip up to one of our favorite vacation spots. Park City has it all…  whether winter, spring, summer or fall!

bakery 3The macarons almost melt in your mouth – with just the perfect delicate crust! We were not the least bit sorry that we splurges on these little pleasures!

bakery 1

I’m getting hungry just writing this post… that’s just how good this bakery is!

So, the next time you happen to be in Park City, you must check out this wonderful bakery… perfect, after a day on Utah’s world class slopes!! Let me know what you think; I’d love to hear back and any comment is welcomed.


whale watching on vancouver island

by jani on January 9, 2013

Have you ever had one of those moments in your life that was so spectacular, you thought you must have been dreaming? Well, HB and I had one such experience while visiting beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We were staying at the historic  Empress Hotel and on a whim decided we’d take a whale watching trip. The tour company explained that we may not even see a whale, but if we were really fortunate, one might just be breaching (that’s when a whale comes to the surface in almost a dancing jump). There are several pods of orcas in the area. They nickname them by letters… there’s the “J” pod and the “K” pod… you get the idea. Anyway, we were  excited to see a seaplane taking off as we were leaving  Victoria Harbour; it was quite close to our rubber pontoon boat known as an inflatable rigid Zodiac.

Whale Collage 4

The guide was very knowledgeable as we peppered him with questions. He took us to several of the popular sights… one was this lighthouse on an island filled with elephant seals and other wild life. We were content. Still no whale sightings.

Whale Collage 1

It was getting cold and we were glad to be in our very large but comfortably warm suits that had built-in life jackets. Yes, they were bulky, but we didn’t care. We were perfectly happy on a beautiful Canadian day!

Whale Collage 3

Words can’t properly explain the next few moments. We suddenly saw an orca pod that seemed to be moving parallel to us at a very safe distance from our boat. After all, our boat was not that large. There were about eleven passengers, including us and the captain/guide who sat directly behind HB and me.

When you’re out in the wild, you are at the mercy of the elements and the wildlife. A typical  pod of orcas consists of between 20 and 40 individuals, headed by an alpha male. Orcas (aka killer whales) can grow up to 32 feet and weight up to 10 tons. The dorsal fin of the male orca in the “K” pod is six feet tall.

With stunning abruptness this entire pod changed direction and were headed directly toward our small vessel. The captain turned off the motor because it was too late to move the boat. He told us to hold on and be very still.

Whale Collage 2

The male orca was upon us before we even knew what was happening. This mighty creature was magnificent. In those brief seconds as he surfaced right next to our boat I am certain my heart skipped a beat, HB took this photo… it is not blown up… this is exactly how close he was to our boat. I can’t tell you how large a wake he left other than that we all held on for dear life! After we watched him swim away, each person in that boat knew we had just witnessed something extraordinary… so dangerous, yet exhilarating – all at the same time!

whale watching 14

I can’t promise that you’ll be fortunate enough to experience something quite like this, if you do visit Victoria and decide to go on a whale watching adventure. But I can tell you that we would still have thoroughly enjoyed the trip had this incredible moment not happened. We would highly recommend this to any traveler who is visiting Vancouver Island and enjoying the unique flavor of the Canadian West Coast.

I would love to hear about any unforgettable experiences you may have had in your travels – or for that matter, any comments would be welcome!


is it really 2013?!

by jani on January 4, 2013

I know it is – we welcomed in 2013 with a great New Year’s Eve party at our son’s home. I’m all about welcoming in the new and ushering out the old. However, since I’m still looking at, and I might add enjoying, my Christmas decor while everyone else is busying themselves taking it all down and wrapping last year up in a bow, I’d like to take a very short visit back to some of my favorite posts from 2012.

A few of my favorite recipes… they were all fun to make, great to eat, and awesome to post about!

puff pastry

grilled avacodos

fourth of july fruit pizza

grilled peaches

fig and cheese crostini

roasted chile mushroom soup

pear apple butternut soup

sausage pine nut dressing

maple pecan baked yams


Food Collage 1

A few of my fashion, travel and family favorite posts –

fash, trav and fam  Collage

It’s hard to believe that I’ve only been publishing my blog since the middle of May. I love all the aspects of the blogging world and  feel fortunate to be able to contribute my small part! So with this brief look back… here’s to a better year than last for everyone!

If there are a few of these posts that don’t look familiar, I would love to have you go back and read through my blog. I’m grateful to you, my readers, and pray your new year is joyous!