Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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Wolfe Ranch, Ute Petroglyphs and a Fiery Sunset

Saturday September 6, 2014
Portal RV Resort near
Arches National Park
Moab, Utah



Yesterday’s post was all about Petroglyphs so if you love them you should read that one here first since there is only one petroglyph in this post and it’s not ancient.   Old yes, but not ancient like those this morning.   We spend the afternoon inside out of the sun and the heat.


When the sun moves low enough in the sky for it to start to cool off, we head out for our last visit to Arches National Park.  I want to see the last petroglyph site near Wolfe Ranch and David wants to see the sun on the Fiery Furnace.  We are late getting out and it’s an 18 mile drive so I drop him off at the Furnace just in case I get delayed at the petroglyphs.

The petroglyphs are near the Wolfe Ranch site.  I pass the cabin on my way and take a couple of quick pictures. 

These petroglyphs are entitled the Ute Hunting scenes and are on a short spur trail just past the bridge over the wash off of the trail to Delicate Arch.  The wash is pretty cracked and dry.

The sign tells me that the petroglyphs are typical of Ute Rock art and were done between 1650 and 1850. 







I take some close ups for a better view of these figures which are between 363 and 163 years old they say.  After these, the Utes were in a battle for their land which they ultimately lost.  Of course the state of Utah was named after them.   Was it a consolation?














I stay a long time here in this spot sacred to the Native peoples.  No one else is around.  It’s quiet and beautiful.  Just as I turn to leave, a couple is coming up the path.  Now they can have their time alone here. 


The moon is full and high in the sky.  As I come near the intersection of the trail to Delicate Arch I see the rocks are ablaze.











I hope David gets to see the fire over there at the Furnace.  I’m on my way to join him but stop for a closer look at the Wolfe cabin on my way back to the car.


John Wesley Wolfe settled here in the late 1800’s with his oldest son Fred.  He moved west from Ohio looking for a drier climate prompted by a nagging Civil War leg injury.  He chose this site of more than 100 acres for its water and grassland. 

The Wolfes built a one room log cabin, a corral and a small dam across Salt Wash.  They lived alone on this remote ranch for more than a decade.  In 1906, Wolfe’s daughter Flora Stanley and her husband and children moved to the ranch.  The story is that she was shocked at the primitive conditions and convinced her father to build a new cabin with a wooden floor which is the one here today. 

I’ve heard that Wolfe’s wife was not about to leave her home in Ohio and didn’t come initially or later.  In 1910 they returned to Etna Ohio where John Wolfe died in 1913 at the age of 84. 


The two buildings here are the cabin and what may be a spring house to its right.  I’m not sure, and the information didn’t say.







This picture was taken through this side the window of the cabin.  The buildings are not open.





This is the outbuilding.  It’s the step down that made me think it might be a spring house.




As I leave, I think it looks like a lonely place to live.





The sun is setting as I hurry over to the Fiery Furnace. I miss the event but David shares his pictures.


Here’s my sunset at Wolfe Ranch.



Here are David’s sunset and Fiery Furnace pictures.











The clouds are starting to take over the moon as we leave the Fiery Furnace behind on our last day in Arches National Park.



It’s a full moon over Winnona as we head to bed for a good night’s sleep before getting on the road tomorrow.  We are headed back east.  We’re going to try to go over 2000 miles in about 2.5 weeks with a couple more stops on the way. Wish us luck.




  1. Beautiful photos. Safe travels. We're headed west and you're going east, maybe our paths will cross.

  2. You guys really captured the beauty of that area, thank you.

  3. I'm in awe of the Fiery Furnace pictures.

  4. Sherry did David get to hike in the Fiery Furnace? We tried to sign up for a ranger-led walk, but didn't make reservations early enough. That hike is definitely on our list when we return some day.

    1. Unfortunately we did not get to hike in the furnace. They were completely filled up for the entire month. It's on our list too if we are able to return. Looks fantastic but I sure wouldn't go without a guide or some much more serious orienteering skills than we have.

  5. It's a stark countryside, but so beautiful!

  6. This is like double your pleasure with you each going a different direction, and both fantastically beautiful. I like remote but think Wolfe’s place a bit too remote. Looking forward to the rest of your journey east.

  7. Amazing how similar these later petroglyphs are to the much older ones we saw earlier in the day. I agree that the Wolfe ranch back in the day would have been a very lonely place. I guess if what you want is to escape civilization, it had that in spades. Great pictures again!

  8. Those petroglyphs seem to be in good shape for their age.


  9. that rock art is great, so are your pictures!!

  10. We missed the sunset at fiery furnace (too late) so thank David for the pictures! Hope things are going ok in NC.

  11. Now I learned how Utah got its name! Fiery ! Thank you we get a two for one post with both your captures. I mentioned it before and will say it again, your trails and detailed descriptions will be our guide in the future.

  12. Sherry, we traveled up to Ouray Colorado today....which got its name from a Ute Indian Chief. Ended up they kicked his tribe out of Colorado and to the Utah Plantation, I mean Reservation (Desert of course)....so they honor him by naming a town after him after they broke his heart by taking his land away....go figure. --Dave (GongRvWay.com)

  13. That does look lonely, but clearly that man loved the land! I like the petroglyphs;an artistic reminder of the past when things were different. The sun pictures are gorgeous-what a great end to the day with a full moon to top it off!

  14. So beautiful ... the red rocks catch fire when the light is right. Beautiful sunsets.

  15. Your pictures make me so eager to visit this park! I hope I can make it back before it gets too cold.

    It is interesting to me how accessible all the petroglyphs appear to be, after having spent that week in Hueco Tanks in Texas, where a permit was required, and you couldn't get near most of them without a guide. Given the quality and quantity versus here, I think they were a tad over-protective!

  16. How cool to be able to see all that, and with a full moon too. The fiery furnace is amazing, what beautiful colors mother nature has to exhibit!

  17. The remote, solitary living conditions the pioneers dealt with always amaze me. And when I think how many couples were in arranged marriages, or married for convenience (first wife died, second wife was taken on to take care of the house and existing children...), so many women were essentially forced into pioneer mode because that is what their husband wanted to do and they end up working their fingers to the bone in wretched conditions. I know, some women may have been happy to be pioneers, but many were not. (Can you tell I recently read a book about pioneers and this part is what came to mind when I saw your cabin photos!?)

  18. Glad you got a little alone time with the spirits of the rock art. Remote and stark conditions, surrounded by such amazing natural beauty - going must have been as hard as staying. The furnace colors are spectacular! Great moon capture over Winona - like a spotlight from the heavens. Not sure I'm ready for the trek East, but since you've already done it I guess I can come along :-)

  19. Boy, you can tell those petroglyphs are more modern by the quality of the work. We walked around the cabins but did do the petroglyphs.

    David's photos of the Fiery Furnace are gorgeous!!! Next visit we really do need to be there at sunset.

    Sherry, we need an up to date blog on how things are going with David. I assume at this point you are back east. How was the trip?

  20. lovely as always. . .beautiful breathtaking sunset. . .

  21. I bet poor Mr. Wolfe died of a broken heart after leaving all of that natural beauty and solitude. I could see myself living in that cabin (with Internet, of course!).

  22. I believe those are the most vibrant pics I've seen. And knowing pics are never quite the same as the real thing, I can only imagine.

  23. What a lovely last evening you had in Arches. The red rocks look like they're on fire in the late afternoon light. Hoping these beautiful memories will sustain you as you navigate the challenges ahead.

  24. So glad you were able to visit this special area, we have enjoyed your visit here thanks for sharing.

  25. Mr. Wolfe must've really enjoyed his "alone time" to live on that remote ranch. Spectacular pictures of the fiery furnace!


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