Monthly Archives: July 2015

Guest Profile: A family reunion and anniversary celebration

Dick and Bert Wolf-Circle Z 2014

A couple that’s been married for a long time must have a few things in common. But interestingly for Dick and Bert Wolf, horses weren’t always one of them. Bert grew up in the horse country near Louisville, Kentucky, but her husband was more of a city guy. According to Bert, “Dick’s only riding experience was on a pony at the Cincinnati Zoo for a nickel when he was a kid.”

But that was 24 years ago. In 1991 Dick, good husband that he is, thought it might be fun to take a ranch vacation, and selected the Circle Z. (He clearly knows a thing or two about a happy marriage!) That started a tradition: the Wolfs have come back to the Circle Z annually for the past 24 years.

Dick and Bert Wolf-60th Anniversary Circle Z

Bert and Dick Wolf: 60 (yes 60!) years of wedded bliss

So when it came time to celebrate their 60th (that’s not a typo, sixtieth!) wedding anniversary, Dick and Bert knew just where they wanted to spend it. But they also wanted to share this special event with family. Everyone in the Wolf family knew what the Circle Z meant to Dick and Bert, so they worked to join them for their special celebration.

After much calendar coordination, the Wolfs determined the best time to get the most family members to Patagonia was from December 19-26, 2014. In total, 20 family members of all ages made their way to the ranch to help Dick and Bert celebrate. “The ranch lends itself very well to this kind of an event,” says Bert. “We had riders of varying ability, and family members of all ages. There was always something for everyone to do.”

Dick and Bert 60th Anniversary, family trail ride

Dick & Bert Wolf 60th Anniversary, family by the fire

 

“Whether riding the trails or just hanging out by the fire, there was always something for the family to do together”

Dick and Bert were happy just having family around them at one of their favorite places, but the family had a few other plans. Working with Jennie, they arranged to have a surprise anniversary party for the Happy Couple. Saturday night the Game Room was transformed with music, decorations and a special cake. “We were surprised and thrilled,” said Bert. “Everyone had a great time–even two other family groups staying at the ranch that week got involved. The atmosphere was such that they were automatically brought into the fold.”

 Cathy shares family stories at Dick and Bert’s surprise anniversary party

Circle Z has always been about family; whether its aunts, uncles and cousins, the Nash family, the Lorta family, our family of horses . . . or simply the “family” of good friends getting together. We’re delighted that Dick and Bert chose to spend their special event (60 years! We’re still shaking our heads in amazement!) with the Circle Z family. And once you’ve visited the Circle Z, you’re part of our family too.

Dick and Bert, 60th Anniversary cake, Circle Z

By |July 3rd, 2015|Community|0 Comments

Day Trip: Kartchner Caverns

Kartchner Caverns by MRP, flickr

The eerily beautiful “Big Room” at Kartchner Caverns; photo by MRP, flickr

 

The southern Arizona scenery is beautiful, but there are some treasures that lie below ground as well. Visitors to the Circle Z might like to take an excursion to explore Kartchner Caverns, a truly stunning underground wonder.

Located at the eastern base of the Whetstone Mountains near the town of Benson, the caverns were discovered in 1974. Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts were exploring the limestone hills searching for a cave rumored to be in the area. What they found was a “live cave,” where stalagmites and stalactites are still evolving. Despite the fact that the cave was on private property, Tenen and Tufts continued to explore the cave in secret for four more years. In 1978 they shared their discovery with property owners James and Lois Kartchner with the intent of both preserving the unique caverns and making them available for others to see.

The existence of Kartchner Caverns was made public in 1988, when the caverns and surrounding land was purchased by the Arizona State Parks system. Extensive analysis of just how to admit visitors while still preserving the unique geological and eco systems, coupled with political red tape, delayed the opening of the park until 1999.

The entrance to Kartchner Caverns is tucked into the base of the Whetstone Mountains, photo by Lance & Erin, flickr

 

But the caverns were worth the wait! They are divided into several “rooms,” which can be toured separately or together. Highlights include:

  • One of the world’s longest soda straw stalactites: 21 feet 3 inches (Throne Room)
  • The tallest and most massive column in Arizona, Kubla Khan: 58 feet tall (Throne Room)
  • The world’s most extensive formation of brushite moonmilk (Big Room)
  • The first reported occurrence of “turnip” shields (Big Room)
  • The first cave occurrence of “birdsnest” needle quartz formations
  • Many other unusual formations such as shields, totems, helictites, and rimstone dams.

Even if spelunking is not your thing, Kartchner Caverns are magnificent and worth a detour. Tours are about 90 minutes each. There is a Discovery Center/museum, as well as picnic grounds on site. The caverns are about 50 miles northeast of Circle Z Ranch, which make them an excellent day trip destination. Bring a picnic lunch from the ranch, and enjoy a day exploring some of southern Arizona’s underground beauty!

NOTE: In order to preserve the caverns guest admission is limited and reservations are recommended. For more information go to Kartchner Caverns State Park.

For a video preview of the caverns, see below:

By |July 2nd, 2015|Community, Day Trips|0 Comments