Home Background History Local Animals Unusual Plants Restaurants Weather Patagonia


Lookout Ranch

We  purchased the ranch in June of 1997, it was the end of a long search...

We were frequent visitors to the coast, in two areas--North Coast from Gualala (Wah-lah'-lah) to Fort Bragg, and South Coast from Monterey to Big Sur.  We spent the usual weekends; at B&Bs, enjoying the restaurants, and beach combing.

We started looking for property in 1994, and set these initial goals:


Privacy.  That meant at least two or three acres!  Why have a place in the country that isn't in the country? If you can see in your neighbor's windows, then they can see in yours--that ain't private.  Trees, lots of them--There is a special calm in a cathedral of  redwoods, it's hard to explain.


Distance.  Not too far, not too close, juuuust right.  We felt two-to-four hours was right.  We've done the Tahoe-Donner drive many times at about 5 hours, before the traffic on 80 really started to crawl, and it's just too far for frequent travel.  We assumed we were going to leave every other Friday at 7:00, that drive would get old.  Closer than 2 hours?  Well we tried, but that really leaves you in the Santa Cruz to Bodega Bay area.  Both are nice B&B spots, but Santa Cruz is too "developed" and Bodega Bay didn't have the right kind of "country".


Coastal.  The climate, the restaurants, the beaches; "Artsy-fartsy-ex-hippie-commune" seemed pleasant, it ranks up there with "College Town".  Many of the restaurants on the north coast are outrageously good.  Here's a list some good ones: Restaurants.  We determined the climate by looking at the trees on the land.  Scrub Oak and Pine?  Too hot.  Cypress and Juniper?  Too foggy.  We set our sights on Redwood and Fir.

It was 1994.  Armed with this set of guidelines, we set forth into the wilderness.  Okay, we opened up the real estate newspapers at the coffee shop in Point Arena (Sadly, they are now out of business, replaced with a organic food store, but it's not the same.)  Land up here was cheap, but finding it was somewhat difficult.  We burned a few weekends puttering around, never finding anything.  Two years later...

The 1996 season kicks in.  We'll get serious and call a Professional.  We took our guidelines in hand, and once more headed out from beautiful downtown Ukiah (Hey! stand on the south side of the race track, and you'll see UKIAH = HAIKU) into the wilderness.  Okay, we got in the realtor's Explorer.  We spent three days driving through the western mountains.  We found some beautiful lots, but the shacks that had been built upon them were frightful.  Comptche, Navarro, Orr Springs, Low Gap Road, Flynn Creek.  We just could not find what we were looking for, but the realtor was quite helpful and we learned two other items:


Natural spring.  Spring-sweet water tastes better.  Okay, so now we need a spring with a creek.


Lot size.  Part of the problem we were having was our search for two or three acres.

Then the realtor showed us a 160* acre lot ("See, we're standing in the Northwest corner of this lot.  The lot runs down this hill, over to those trees, across that creek, and up that hill") and the search changed completely.  A creek, trees, hills, privacy are all easy to find in an area where the average lot size is a hundred acres.  It was finding everything we wanted packed into a Disneyesque 2 acres that was hurting us.

We've been touring as often as we can make it up here.  It's 1997 now, we're starting the season early.   Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Point Arena.  Well, this seems good, it's back in our familiar haunts, but the lots are too small.  The largest was 8 acres, but yes, you can see the neighbor's house maybe a hundred feet away.  Also, they're too built up.  Telephone lines & power lines across the sky.  Basically we're in sub-suburbia.  Not what we're looking for.  But we have the correct vocabulary now, so we provide much better feedback to the realtor.  It's Easter weekend, we head back out into the wilds.  ( Okay, we get in the realtor's Volvo.)  She finds three more; each 160+ acres.  Hawk Butte, Lookout Ranch, and Elkhorn (Wow, all the properties have names!).  Hawk Butte and Elkhorn were both very close to Yorkville on Hwy128.  Elkhorn is down in the valley, and was obviously really hot.  Hawk Butte, being up above the valley, was breezy, but only scrub oak (still too hot).  Then we got to Lookout Ranch.  That was all it took.  Two hours later we made an offer.

P.S. Never did look that much to the South.  We found what we were after.

*160 acre lots are a common size, being 1/4 of one square mile

The ranch's History