Dear friends,

This week I spent a couple of days at the Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch in SW Colorado which is owned and run by Gary Adams and his wife Ming. The ranch  is a work in progress with the guest houses being up-graded and new buildings added over time. Since I was traveling in the area with Gary’s cousins Dave and Cary, we got pretty special teatment, but I am sure anyone staying here will be equally well cared for.

Welcome to the Canyon of the Ancients.

Quiet and secluded with wonderful views in every direction.

This historic guest ranch is located at the peaceful and quaint McElmo Canyon in close proximity to world renowned tourist attractions such as Durango, Mesa Verde, Canyon of the Ancients, Monument Valley, Pagosa Springs and Telluride…to just name a few.  It was once owned by a legendary cowboy, Elden Zwicker. Also, the road that leads to the Ranch has been called “Mormon Road” since early Mormons used it to migrate to Utah.  The road is also nicknamed “Robber’s Path”, as Butch Cassidy is rumored to have hid his fortune in the Canyon.

The main house where Gary and Ming live appears as an ancient ruin,
but inside are all modern facilities and a warm

Hosts Gary and Ming entertaining Cary, and showing off their hand-reared Churro sheep, Quasimodo and Shadow.


The decoration is an intersting mix – Native American artworks alongside
carvings from the Indian subcontinent brought back by Gary after one of his travels. 


Rowdy the house cat keeping an eye on all the procedings.

What a treat to give Quasimodo his evening bottle of milk, and he was loving it.

Then off we all go to check out some of the guest houses on the property.

The Wagstaff log cabin is the latest addition to the Ranch, opened in 2017. It is an Appalachian-style structure
that was partially built with logs over 200 years old. 

The Elden Stone House is a historical house built in 1880s where the old Zwicker family lived around the 1940s. 

Colourful hollyhocks greet you at the gate to the stone house.

A corner of the living room with an imposing totem carving.

A welcoming modern kitchen inside the old stone cottage.

An interesting mix of hats, snowshoes, stirrups and a hobby horse in the entry hall of the house.

A longhorn skull decorating one of the outside walls of the stone house.

Yet another style of guest lodging – a log cabin, dwarfed by the towering rock covered hills behind.

We were staying in the largest of the guest houses – the Ranch house, with all modern amenities. 

An Indian horse with a cowboy hat was standing right outside out door.

Attractive living room and well-appointed kitchen.

With this corner decoration there is no doubt that we are on a ranch.

Dave and Cary having an early morning coffee on the terrace of the ranch house.

A nice portrait of Sis, Dave’s little blue heeler puppy.

Above their heads, under the eaves of the roof, there are several swallow nests, and this little swallow was intersted in us.

One of the old trucks on the property, paint flaking but certainly adding to the atmoshphere of the ranch.

Longhorn cattle in the paddock behind our house.

Dave introducing his Blue Heeler puppy, supposedly a budding cattle dog, to one of the heifers. 

And here come the sheep, dust sifting up as they meander towards new pastures ….

…. and moving past the barn.

Looks like a bit of bovine romance happening here …

Dave checking if puppy Sis, might be more suited to working with sheep.  She’s not really sure yet.

We visited some of Gary and Ming’s neighbours and I was a little amazed to see that they had two zebras on their property which warranted some photos and even a couple of close-ups.

Loving the reflected sky and mountain in the eye of the zebra.

Cary chatting with Ming in the mornng as she prepares us a hearty breakfast to send us on our way.

Rowdy bids us farewell from atop a fence at the Canyon of the Ancients, while looking out for new guests.

Thank you MIng and Gary for a delighful and busy couple of days with you – most enjoyable and your hospitality truly appreciated. And thank you Cary and Dave for taking me to this great place.  What an exoperience.

For anyone interested in learning more about the ‘Canyon of the Ancients’ Guest Ranch, you might like to check out their website as follows:

In the next blog we explore the landscape around Cortez and visit the historic Mesa Verde.


All good wishes,