Arizona’s Wilderness

If you take a dirt road long enough you’ll find your way home.  Near Wickenburg, Arizona, that dirt road is called Constellation, and it winds you through stages of the state’s history.  The road passes a stage coach stop; numerous mines; washes with names like “King Solomon”; walls built by Chinese and native workers.

After driving 8 miles on cliffs and over ridges you find yourself at a fork, and finally at the Williams Family Ranch.

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The Williams Family Ranch has 20 head of horses, most born and raised there.

This ranch is in literally in the wilderness of Arizona.  Cattle graze on hillsides, and ranchers move by horseback.  The ranch house is fed by spring water, and the lights are powered by sun and diesel.  From the ranch house the river flows 7 miles north and 7 miles south through land untouched modern development.

This weekend my wife and I visited this ranch to flesh out a story I’ve picked up.  It seems years ago these ranchers took on a sizeable debt through a real estate deal or two, and they needed to earn extra cash to stay afloat.  They run cattle, and maintain 20 head of horses, but something else had to give for them to stay viable.  Enter the chamber of commerce, and an idea to open their land to boarders.

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My wife enjoying the experience.

One of those boarders wrote an article about the ranch in a German magazine, and other outlets featured the unique “realistic” working ranch, leading to a surge of sorts, of European guests.  The Williams Family only takes on a few guests, every few months, but they treat each traveler as family.  About 50% of their visitors are repeat customers.

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Living like the old days, horses are the only way to work this land.

I weathered rain, a too-small saddle, and a weekend of kind of understanding German to bring the story of the Williams Family.  Through video, pictures, and of course rich audio, I hope to translate a part of the intercultural ranch experience to listeners/Web surfers.  Stay tuned for that feature coming in a couple weeks.

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