Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wonderland Ranch House Ruins - Joshua Tree National Park

I apologize for my extended absence. More health issues popped up, that I will explain in my next post. 
I just realized that although I've been to this spot many times, I've never posted anything about it. The Wonderland Ranch ruins are sometimes referred to as the "Ohlson Ranch." Other than the name, there is very little known about it. It's in a great place and makes me imagine what it would have been like to live there.

Despite the fact that this place is very close to one of the main tourist draws in the park, very few people visit it. 

This ranch house was very isolated "back in the day." The round stone lined pit in the foreground appears to be a water cistern.

My granddaughter Tay (who most of you know by now) standing by the fireplace. Despite being in the desert, it gets VERY cold here. I'm sure people stood right there to keep warm. 

Speaking of cold, that is my bundled up wife, in the lower middle. This photo is from a different visit to the same place. It was about 25 degrees on this day. 

Over the years, visitors have been placing small, found items on this wall.  

Part of a small can dump near the house. There are many more in the area. 

This small stone structure once had what looked like a metal oven, or grill on it. The metal part was on it until several years ago. I looked around for it, but it has vanished. 

At ground level, you can see many Joshua Trees around it.

An old truck near the ranch house. 

Not many exciting things to write about from this spot, but it's still a great part of the local history. More than worth the small effort it takes to get there.



  1. Sorry you've had health challenges.
    Old ruins like that are cool because we can relate to what those people had. And yes, I remember it getting very cold in the desert.

  2. I always enjoy it when you post about something from Joshua Tree. In fact, whenever I hear or read about that National Park, I think of YOU....

    You have a gorgeous granddaughter --but I'm sure you know it.


  3. I would imagine life there was difficult without much water. The truck appears to be is remarkably good shape, must be that dry weather. Cool place

  4. Wow! Very interesting.

    I do hope you are feeling better! Please DO take care.

  5. Alex J. Cavanaugh - Thanks Alex! Seems like the overriding theme of my life these days. Blazing heat in the summer, and freezing cold in the winter.

    Betsy Adams - Thanks Betsy! I'm glad you enjoy them. More than that, my GD is a really nice person.

    Wayne - I'm sure it was difficult. There is less water there now! I think you are right about things lasting a long time in the desert.

    trav4adventures - I agree! I will take care, and I'm dealing with the problems.

  6. Hello, wonderful photos of the old ranch. Your grand daughter is beautiful. I love the old truck, very cool.

    Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  7. Those are terrific photos Pat! We hope you are still doing better.

  8. Love seeing these photos. With all that sunlight and blue sky and desert, it seems like it should be warm. Hard to imagine such a cold day there. Sure is beautiful. I see why you head out that way. Hope your health issues are easy and manageable.

  9. eileeninmd - Thanks Eileen! Happy Tuesday to you also.

    Brian - Thanks Brian! I am doing better, but the beat goes on.

    robin andrea - I agree! It is beautiful during any season. Thanks so much!

  10. The scenery there looks a lot like the scenery around the Antelope Valley Indian Museum. Is Joshua Tree near the Indian Museum or do you know?

  11. Welcome back, Pat! Great to see you! Hope you're feeling better.

    AWESOME photographs! That first one is incredible. It almost looks like a movie set or a painting. I also love the photos of the old rusty truck.

    I'm surprised to hear that for being the desert, it gets cold. I actually prefer to the cold to the heat, so I would really like that.

    Again, welcome back, Pat!

  12. Very cool ! Huell Howser from the old tv show "California's Gold" should have done a show about this place. Heck maybe he did. :-)

    I hope you are feeling better.

  13. hope nobody ever fell into that pit

  14. Definitely worth writing about and showing. The desert and JT are full of mysteries, that's for sure. I know the high desert can get cold at night! I hope you have the health issue solved.

  15. In ruins there is treasure and beauty!

  16. Sights like this certainly get the imagination going Pat! What was it like here, why did they just up and leave, leaving the tractor and more behind.. fascinating! I hope you are all well now Pat, take care.

  17. Hello Pat, every time I see your photos taken in Joshua Tree National park I think that is a place I will always dream about but probably never will get there. Desert can be beautiful in its own way. It's special beauty; harsh but striking.

    You found a real treasure during your hike. I love this old rusty truck. It has many stories to tell.

    Pat, I hope your health is much better right now. Take good care of yourself, please.

    Best wishes to you from me.

  18. The desert environment sure seems hot. But you're right, 25 degrees is cold! We had such a blast in Sedona, AZ. Eventually I'll get around to posting those pics. Thanks for all your blog comments. Hope you're on the mend.

  19. That must have been a beautiful place to live - you got some excellent shots of it. The desert can certainly get cold, especially at night!

  20. I hope you are feeling better. Great photos!

  21. in a way it is sad to see the remains of a house. Time flies so quickly.

  22. What an eerie, ghostly, and beautiful place.
    25 degrees? NEVER would have imagined that.

  23. Kay - They do look similar, and both are in the Mojave Desert. Joshua Tree is about 125 miles from the museum.

    Ron - Thanks for all the nice words Ron! I appreciate them. It is VERY hot there during the summer, and can get very cold in the winter. From November to May, the weather is amazing!

    James - Thanks James! Not only did Huell Howser do a show on Joshua Tree, he lived in nearby Twentynine Palms.

    DEZMOND - I know I didn't!

    William Kendall - That it is William!

  24. Sallie (FullTime-Life) - Thanks Sallie! I thought so also. There is even a "Bigfoot" type legend there. It is called "Yucca Man."

    Lady Fi - I totally agree with you!

    PerthDailyPhoto - I feel the same way Grace. My head fills with questions in places like this.

    Kaya - Thanks Kaya! If you ever do, let me know. I'm as healthy as can be, but things keep happening to me. I think my next post will be about that.

    Sharon Wagner - Yep! It gets deadly hot there during the summer. Every year people either have to be rescued, become lost, or just disappear. In the past month a man went on a hike there and was never seen again. The search for him was recently called off.

  25. Al - I would love to live in a spot like that. Unfortunately nobody else in my family agrees.

    sage - Thanks on both counts my friend.

    NatureFootstep - It is a bit sad. I wish I knew more of the story.

    Al Penwasser - I agree on all counts! Oh yeah, sometimes it even gets colder at night. It even snows there occasionally.

  26. a lovely look around. as your blog opened, i saw your granddaughter in your header and thought 'she was so young then.' then seeing a photo in your post...what a young beauty. :)

  27. TexWisGirl - Thanks so much! She is certainly growing up. Starting HS this year.

  28. Great shots - love the idea of Tay standing where people used to keep warm,. Its a nice image!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  29. I'm sorry to hear that your health problems have popped up again. Never fun, and very distracting when one wants to do something else. Thank you for once more showing us around in an area that is so totally different from anything that I'm accustomed to. Such places always tell a story if one want to listen to it - the small items laid on the wall, the fireplace, the broken-down truck etc etc. There is material for a novel here.

    Take care.

  30. A favorite spot of mine. You photograph and document it well!

  31. Good one, Pat. You give it all for the effort. I hope you were able to catch a ride back out.

    It's strange for me to think of that area as extremely cold - I've only been there, and imagine, it as very hot.

    The pictures are impressive as always, and your granddaughter is a sweetie.

  32. Ah, I do like a Joshua Tree post! Especially now I've been. And old rusty trucks are totally my thing when in the desert. It's pure pleasure whenever I get to stop and photograph one. I also love old ruins. I went back to Rhyolite this past spring and wandered around the old ruined buildings there. Love the old train station, sad it's fenced off. The desert is just full of rusting history.

  33. Also, I can't believe how grown up Tay looks in these pics. She's stunning.

  34. Steward M - Thanks Stewart! I always think about the people who used to be in these places.

    visualnorway - Thanks! Getting old isn't for the faint of heart. I feel the same way you do about these places.

    Spare Parts and Pics - Thank you sir! I like it there also.

    Rawknrobyn - Thanks Robyn! It goes to both extremes there.

    VEG - I totally agree with you. Despite what most folks think, the desert is amazing. Thanks! She is most def growing up. Starting HS on Monday.

  35. It is WONDERFUL to see your return. These are beautiful pictures of a place I will never be ale to visit. That is sad for me. I find it interesting that few people go and visit this particular site. That would be on the top of my list. The pictures are wonderful and they really give the viewer a feel of the life of the people who lived there. genie

  36. What a great find! Can imagine someone wanted a house there, because of the trees. But I wonder why they left, after all the work they did to built it (am just thinking how many truckloads of building materials that took!).
    Don't know it my comment in the post about your health issues got through, so here's the short version. Very happy for you, you caught it all in time! Also, a friendly reminder that SEASONS is resuming this Sunday (Aug.21) - would love to see one of your captures here on the thumbnail list! From now on, stay healthy!!

  37. genie - Thanks so much Genie! It really is an awesome place. It seems like the National Parks like to herd people to where they want you to go. I wish you could see Joshua Tree NP. It is amazing...

    jeannettestgermain - The people who lived there were probably there for mining and/or cattle ranching. Nobody really knows. Thanks Jeannette!

  38. I'm sorry you've had more health issues! Hopefully by now they're all taken care of?

    What a fascinating find. They lived such a different life than we do now. I wonder how the average teenager would do if they were thrown into that life? :) I bet, once they got past the initial shock, they would love it.

  39. Baby Sister - Yep, all taken care of.
    Yep, I cam't imagine any kids that I know being thrust into that kind of isolation. People were much tougher back in the day. Thanks Amanda!


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