The Epic Migration
We could have scarcely imagined when the doctor said, "You need a drier, warmer climate or more drugs," would have brought us to an epic transition from the Pacific Northwest, where we had lived & were well established on a 20 acre piece of heaven for the past several decades, to Southern Arizona and a 16K acre cattle ranch within that same year. After hearing the doctor's words, we thought we would become snowbirds and use our RV to spend winters in the Sonoran desert and summers back home in Western Washington. We loaded up the RV and headed to Arizona to find a good place to set up camp. When we arrived and started looking around, we quickly learned that the solitude we enjoyed at home was not possible in Arizona on 10-20 acres like we had imagined. At home, the giant evergreen trees made our place private and secluded, even though we were only 15 minutes from town. In Arizona on 20 acres, you felt naked in front of the world. Because the vegetation is so different, you can see for what appears to be forever in any direction. After consulting with a realtor, we quickly realized that we were going to have to either stay in Washington, or move, lock, stock and barrel to Arizona, because we could not afford the lifestyle we enjoy in both locations. The decision was surprisingly easy because we had fallen in love with the Sonoran Desert and the giant saguaros.
Now the hunt was on for the perfect piece of property. We looked at countless parcels, but they all fell short for one reason or another. The problem was we had put our house in Washington up for sale and it had sold in 3 days, driving us to make a choice. Finally, a couple days before we were leaving Arizona to go back home and start packing, our realtor, who was as frustrated as we were, told us he had just learned of one more property we could look at. He did not have much hope that we would like it, because it was over our budget and a fixer upper. Early the next morning, we met the ranch manager at the entrance to Agua Blanca Ranch. The 640 deeded acres was located 6 miles from where the ranch land, which is leased from the BLM and State, started. As we drove down the typical Arizona ranch road, which is bumpy, windy and dusty, we were filled with hope because the scenery kept getting better and better. By the time we arrived at the Ranch Headquarters, we were in a forest of ironwood, mesquite and giant saguaros. One look at the Headquarter structures, and we knew that we had to make an offer on this place. To our delight and amazement, we are now the proud owners of the Agua Blanca Ranch, AKA: Stone Goat Ranch.
Stone Goat Ranch's underlying asset, The Agua Blanca Ranch, was part of an original Spanish land grant and was converted to a US land grant of 640 acres when Arizona became part of the United States. It did not change much over the years until 2000 when the new Headquarters was built, incorporating part of the original adobe homestead that was still standing. Again in 2004, an addition was made, doubling the size of the Headquarters into what is here today. The architecture style is a true hacienda inspired structure complete with courtyards and patios. The Ranch consists of 640 deeded acres and over 16k leased acres covering 26 sq. miles in the heart of the Ironwood National Monument. The ranch has been an operating cattle ranch since approximately 1850, making it a true "Old West" cattle ranch.
The entire area was the home of the ancient Hohokam Indians for many thousands of years until they mysteriously disappeared 500 years before the modern indigenous peoples arrived. The artifacts and remnants of their culture are scattered throughout the ranch, therefore we take the archaeological and natural resource preservation very seriously.
The ranch is totally self contained and off-grid. We generate power through solar and have our own water well and septic systems, making us about as green as it gets.
"Best adventure my family ever had. The kids want to go back again next year. Very gracious hosts and our 1 week our trip felt way too short."
Nathan & Noel
"The kids loved looking for scorpions. I loved looking at the petroglyphs. Best family vacation ever. Thank you."
The Wilson Family
"Love the Food! Never had a better steak. At night we could not believe the stars. Hosts are great. We will be back."
Jonathan & Mary Ann