The Roper Cabin – A Reflection of Ranch Beginnings

Roper Cabin

The Elmer family purchased the Roper cabin from Albert Roper. The young girl in the front is Alta Marie Dunbar, who was born in 1898 and died in 2002 at the age of 104. Her parents started Harmel’s Ranch Resort nearby.

The Elmer family purchased the cabin from Albert Roper. The young girl in the front is Alta Marie Dunbar, who was born in 1898 and died in 2002 at the age of 104. Her parents started Harmel’s Ranch Resort nearby.

Commonly known as the Roper Cabin, the hand-hewn log structure located near the crossroads of County Road 742 and Jack’s Cabin Cutoff breathes history. Although sights and sounds of occupants are long gone, the home with a split-rail fence was carefully crafted and signifies the beginning of the historic ranch now known as Wilder on the Taylor.

“The house is where the Stevens brothers set their roots down and filed for an easement for Spring Creek irrigation to come in. Spring Creek ditch ties into Rarick Creek by the house,” says Ranch Manager Don Sabrowski. “The ranch had the first irrigated hay meadows in Gunnison County.”

James E. Stevens filed to homestead the ranch in 1898 and the footprint of the original house is visible, Sabrowski confirms, but there have been various additions and owners over the years.

Jim and Clara (Haymaker) Boyd lived in a house on the upper ranch, with Jim working for Albert Robert, who at that time owned the lower part of the ranch and lived where the historic Wilder cabins now stand along the Taylor River. In 1920, the Boyds bought 40 acres that included the cabin from Charles T. Stevens for $500. The ownership ended up being short-lived as Boyd was thrown from a horse and killed that fall while guiding hunters to earn extra money.Roper Cabin

Albert Roper bought the land and cabin from Clara and relocated the spruce trees that still stand today from the lower ranch with the help of his children in 1923. Roper also built the hay barn and calving shed near the cabin.

When Don and his wife, Shelly, started managing the ranch in 1995 and first went into the Roper Cabin, one of the first things he noticed was that 1946 newspapers from St. Louis covered the walls to make the home more winter resistant. “You could go in and read about what was going on at that time.” The logs for the walls are still in good shape and if a roof were added, the cabin probably could last forever, Don notes. “Someone went to a lot of trouble to make it a nice place.”

Anita Leonard, who managed the ranch with her husband, Cass from 1953 until retiring in 1995, never mentioned anyone living in the Roper cabin during their tenure, Don recalls. What she did relay is that rooms were added onto the house and it became a saloon and dance hall of sorts that was frequented by workers building the Taylor Park Dam. Next door, there was a schoolhouse that kids attended while the dam construction was underway. The schoolhouse was moved to Harmel’s Ranch Resort just down the road years ago and still stands today.

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Wilder Building a Riverside Cabin Available for Purchase

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Wilder is offering the convenience of a brand new, riverside cabin along the Taylor River.

When purchasing a homestead at Wilder on the Taylor, people typically build their own custom homes and fishing cabins, resulting in a variety of beautiful structures that complement the historic ranch’s landscape. In order to make it easy for someone who desires the convenience of a turnkey residence, Ron Welborn, Partner of Wilder and Architect, Dan Murphy have collaborated for months to create the ideal riverside cabin on homestead 11.

Phase 1: Riverside Cabin

The 2,200-square-foot cabin, designed by Crested Butte architect Dan Murphy, has exceeded our goal of creating a one-story home that is nestled on the edge of the Taylor River and aesthetically fits on the ranch. The cabin features covered porches for a relaxed and comfortable setting and other outdoor living spaces that capitalize on the surrounding natural beauty at Wilder.

Wilder in the Taylor Riverside Cabin InteriorSpecially selected reclaimed woods are being used in the interior as well as the exterior to provide a warm and welcoming feel, including Douglas Fir beams from Montana that are more than 100 years old and heated hardwood floors. A low stone foundation fashioned from local moss granite rock also is part of the architectural fabric.

Designed for two families to enjoy with privacy, the riverside cabin comfortably accommodates four adults and their children. The kitchen, dining and living areas casually flow together in one large great room and a master bedroom and bathroom on one side and a junior master suite and bunk room, both with private bathrooms, on the other. A mud room on the riverside of the house has plenty of nooks for fishing poles, waders and other items, with the Taylor River only steps away.

Wilder in the Taylor Riverside CabinAdditional highlights are a soaking tub and steam shower in the master bathroom and a great room with a large rock fireplace, sure to leave guests warm, cozy and relaxed. A breezeway connects to a garage and covered outdoor dining space, handy for those cool summer evenings.

The riverside cabin is masterfully situated with views up and down the Taylor River. The architect, Dan Murphy, carefully planned each room with views of the river.  “With the open floor plan and large windows across the back of the cabin, you have a view of the river from every room of the cabin except the bunk room,” commented Dan Murphy.

This stunning riverside cabin is currently available for purchase directly through Wilder on the Taylor.  Click here to view photos of progress being made. Contact us for a private showing of this rare offering.

Building Community of Owners with Wilder Thursdays

Wilder on the Taylor Community Building

Building community begins with Wilder Thursdays, the time of the week that homeowners gather on summer evenings for casual conversation, delicious food prepared by on-site concierge Antonia Beale and casting tips from master fishing guide Lu Warner.

Wilder on the Taylor Community BuildingThe safari-like Founder’s Porch and spacious Wilder lawn, surrounded by the sweet sounds of the nearby Taylor River, are the living and dining room for the 5:30 – 8 p.m. gatherings, which kick off with hors d’oeuvres and beverages that typically combine Colorado foods and tastes of Argentina and Chile.Building Community at Wilder

Wilder on the Taylor Community BuildingWilder Thursdays happen in July and August, the months when many homeowners are enjoying their Wilder properties. At the first August gathering, Antonia shared her Argentine heritage by serving empanadas made with Wilder beef and Pisco sours, which Lu and Antonia described as similar to a margarita but with a unique twist. It is a beverage they share at Valle Bonito Lodge, the fishing property they operate in the Patagonia of Chile during the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley’s winter season.

Wilder on the Taylor Community Building DessertTender and flavorful Wilder steaks were grilled and served with sweet corn fresh from the field in Olathe not quite two hours away along with roasted vegetables and other tasty dishes, including over-the-top chocolate brownie bites topped with brilliant red raspberries.

Wilder on the Taylor Community Building Thursdays“The idea of this event—held every other Thursday—is that the owners could get to know each other. They are invited to attend with their guests,” Antonia says.

One of our owners had three visitors from Dallas accompany them at the early August gathering. Their annual girlfriend getaway includes attending Crested Butte Arts Festival , getting some time on the water fly-fishing, exploring the area and relaxing at Wilder.

Even if Mother Nature elects to share a few drops of rain on the Thursday evenings, there is plenty of space under the shelter of the Founder’s Porch along with heaters to take any chill off the crisp, clean mountain air. A few sprinkles definitely didn’t dampen any conversations or clinks of wine glasses to celebrate a time of building community of owners at Wilder on the Taylor on an idyllic August Thursday evening.Wilder on the Taylor Community Building Collage

Taylor River Fly Fishing Guide Sends Letter from Patagonia

From Lu Warner, Master Guide at Wilder on the Taylor

Hello All,

Greetings from Southern Chile. I hope you are all enjoying the Crested Butte winter activities and getting ready for another fun season of Taylor River fly fishing at Wilder. I will be arriving there on May 2nd and am looking forward to getting out and spending some time on the water with all of you and doing whatever I can to help you enjoy and fish well in this amazing place.

Wilder on the Taylor River Fly Fishing Guide, Lu WarnerThe Taylor is truly a world class fishery and all signs indicate that the river is super healthy and so is the large population of fish that live in it. Last year, Taylor River fly fishing at Wilder was nothing short of awesome and I think that despite higher than normal flows, all of our owners and guests enjoyed some very productive days on the water from mid May right on through October. On my last day of guiding last year, the river had just dropped to 150 CFS and I was astonished at the amount of huge fish that I saw throughout the entire river. Beware: there are some monster fish in there!

Rarick Creek and all of our Ponds also fished well and a large number of wild Browns and Rainbows mixed with a few wild Cutthroat and Brook trout moved in through the ditch system connected to Spring Creek. Hatches were strong and the fish were large and powerful.

Although we had a few fairly busy days, for most of the season the fisheries had very little pressure and due to higher water levels much of the river went un-fished until the late season. The current 2016 river level forecast predictions range from about 130 CFS in May to a high of 400 in early July and then dropping to between 300 and 150 in September and October. These are less than the predicted flows for 2015 but the reality is that lots can change in the coming 3 months in terms of the snowpack. Last year peak high water was forecast to be around 530 CFS yet the actual flows were double that due to lots of late snow in May. So it is really too early to tell. Regardless, on Wilder’s stretch of the river, Taylor River fly fishing can be excellent in both high and low water years.

One of the first orders of business this season will be to rebuild and fix the River trail where impressive ice dams tore it up over the winter. During this time we will see how the Dream Stream and Ponds did over the winter and make a stocking plan if needed. I will continue to dial in our fly selection and will have on hand an even better selection and larger stock of patterns and essentials for our owners and guests. Additionally, our stock of waders and boots will be upgraded.

Once we get all caught up with that, we will begin working on a Fisherman’s trail on the South Side upper part of the river and burning the brush piles from last years trail work projects as the weather conditions allow. This will open up access to a few spots that are almost impossible to access right now. During the summer we will continue removing branches and dead trees from strategic places to provide as many fishing locations as possible and as usual I will be sending out a detailed fishing report about every two weeks and will include info about the flows, hatches and best techniques.

Until then, I’ll be finishing off my season down here in Patagonia and will be available by email for any questions, requests or concerns that you may have regarding Taylor River fly fishing. I look forward to seeing you all this coming Spring and Summer.

Tight lines,


Women’s Fly-Fishing Clinic: September 14 & 15

Woman Fly-FishingWilder invites the women in the valley to come out and enjoy a complimentary day of fly-fishing on the private waters of Wilder on the Taylor.  Whether you are looking for a relaxing mom’s day out with your friends or just looking for a reason to celebrate the start of fall, it is sure to be a fun day.  For those of you ladies who are not familiar with the property, Wilder on the Taylor is a historic 2,100-acre ranch located between Gunnison and Crested Butte along 2 miles of the Taylor River.

Woman Fly FishingWilder is providing complimentary instruction, equipment and a light lunch with two days to choose from, Sept. 14 or 15, 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Our very own Master Fly-Fishing Guide, Lu Warner who is full of knowledge and always has insightful fishing advice will be leading the clinic. Whether you are a beginner that has never tried the sport or simply want to expand your current skills, Lu offers treasured pointers.

Lu-Warner-TroutSince 1985, Warner has worked as a fly-fishing guide in Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Alaska, Argentina and southern Chile. He has guided during the summer and fall in the Gunnison-Crested Butte area since 2000, the last six years at Wilder. The rest of the year, Warner is in the Patagonia of Chile where he owns and operates Valle Bonito Lodge.

Woman Fly FishingAlong with Master Guide Lu, our General Manager, Brad Willet will be on-site and ready to help. Brad states, “We want to celebrate the women who live or spend time in the valley with a half-day of learning more about fly fishing and utilizing Wilder’s ponds, creek and river access. Taking a break for lunch on the lawn is the perfect time to swap stories and meet each other, and we hope it leads to more families and groups of women getting out to enjoy the sport.”

Please note that limited space is available and registration is required for this free event. You do not want to miss this fly-fishing clinic led by Lu. Register for free today by calling 970.641.4545.

Hope to see you there!

Women fly fishing clinic


Young Fly-Fisherman Reels in his Catch

Have you see our latest fishing video of a young boy netting a fish?  Check out the memory he will never forget in this video shot by his mom …

View more amazing videos from Wilder here:

The Impact of Snowpack on Summer Fly-Fishing in Gunnison Valley

Fly Fishing in Gunnison Valley
Article written by Guest Author, Jim Garrison.  Jim is a 23 year resident of the Gunnison Valley, fly-fishing guide, and photographer.

SnowpackSnowpack in the Colorado mountains is a critical part of our lives. As a flyfishing guide and landscape photographer I pay attention to the snowpack each year. I have lived in the Gunnison Valley for 23 years. My work time is divided between guiding flyfishing and photography. This snow season has been a unique one. Early snow storms had us set up for a good snowpack but an unseasonably warm January, February and March brought us down to 56% snowpack. February and March were great fishing months this year but we were worried it could be a dry Summer. Fortunately April had a “normal” amount of snow and May has been one of the wettest, coolest ones I can remember. We went form a 56% to a 74% snowpack and still have wet weather in the forecast.

Fly Fishing at Wilder on The TaylorI feel confident that our snowpack will get us through the Summer and Fall in good shape. Most of our insect hatches should be close to their normal schedules this year. One thing that is unique this year is our run-off was not as big as usual so our trout had a less stressful Spring.

wildflowers at WilderThis year, fly-fishing in Gunnison Valley at Wilder on The Taylor should be great, as will the wildflower season. Speaking of Wilder there has been constant improvements to the property and new construction has been ongoing. The Gunnison Valley derives quite a bit of its income from tourism and second home owners. I personally feel that second home owners are the driving force behind our local economy. All of the construction guys I know, several are working on Wilder homes right now, are thankful that we have the second home owners here. I guide and sell my landscape photographs to several second home owners and have become friends with some. Projects like Wilder on the Taylor bring a lot of positive energy to the valley.

To view photos of the progress at Wilder, visit our weekly updated photostream.

About the Author:
Jim Garrison started his second career as a magazine photographer in 1985. From 1987 -1990 he took his family with him during the summer months and toured the state of Colorado doing arts festivals. During this time he was able to see every part of Colorado.  Out of all the beautiful places, he chose the Gunnison Valley as his home in 1991. Since then, his focus is area photography, the Paragon Art Gallery, and fly-fishing guide. Jim states, “I am lucky to have vocations that allow me to enjoy the beauty that God has created.”

A Growing Community of Owners Means Growing Needs

Developer Continues Meeting Needs of the Growing Community of Owners at Wilder on the Taylor

The original ownership group of Wilder on the Taylor continues their commitment to enhancing the amenities and lifestyle at the ranch with construction and improvement projects continuing through the Colorado winter. Here at Wilder we are increasing our amenities to suit the needs of our ever growing group of owners. In 2013 we introduced our Master Guide Program complete with on-staff professional fly fishing guide, Lu Warner from Patagonia, Chile and expert horseman, Don Sabrowski from Crested Butte, Colorado. Last year, the Concierge Services Program was implemented. Antonia Beale of Argentina leads these services with prepared meals, cabin arrival preparation, airport pick-up service, and more.

This year 2015, we chose to focus on facility needs of our fast growing community of owners and their guests. “The land plan for this property was simply that …a plan. Now to see that plan become a reality with the ever expanding owner community is an amazing experience,” said Brad Willett, General Manager. “Knowing and hearing what our owners needed was simple. Actually taking action to meet those needs says everything about the developers’ commitment to this land and community.”



Wilder on the Taylor cabin


We are proud to update you on several projects such as remodeling an owners’ guest cabin, addition of an outdoor caterers’ kitchen and an expanded parking area.The Haymaker cabin, available to our homeowners for their guests, is undergoing a major expansion and remodel while still taking great care to preserve the historical integrity of the original structure.

Originally a 100 year old fishing cabin, the builder is maintaining its originality and additional reclaimed materials are being sourced for the project to preserve the old west feel of the cabin. All the while updating the amenities within to insure guests’ stay here at Wilder are even more comfortable and welcoming. The Haymaker guest cabin will have two beautifully appointed master bedrooms with updated on-suite baths and will easily accommodate two couples or families with children. The Parking areas have been extended and the entrance of the cabin has been moved to face the Cottonwood cabin creating the effect of a suite of cabins and the feel of a private camp, perfectly planned for multiple families to visit and share in all of the countless activities and priceless memories Wilder on the Taylor has to offer.

The heart of the ranch, known as “the camp” for over 100 years, is also being expanded to accommodate our growing ranch community. We are nearing completion of an outdoor caters’ kitchen equipped with a gas cooktop, grilling station, stone countertops and a built in refrigerator, a superb asset for homeowners who enjoy breaking bread with friends and family. It is available for owners to cook a meal or for the concierge to cater an elegant affair. With the caters’ kitchen conveniently located next to the Founder’s Porch, it presents the perfect setting for outdoor living lifestyle and the riverside backdrop will invite guests to linger long after the stars have filled the sky. There is also an expansion underway at the pump house where there will be more room to hang your waders, store your tackle, and share Taylor River tales with like-minded folks who can truly appreciate them.

The continual progression of our authentic Western Colorado ranch continues while still focusing on the goal to preserve and protect the heritage of this wonderful treasure that we have been entrusted. A place for family, a place for memories, a place for renewal, Wilder on the Taylor.

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If you would like to learn more about Wilder on the Taylor you can start by visiting our website at and downloading our brochure.

Reclaimed Log Cabin Finds New Home at Wilder on the Taylor

gandy ranch cabin
Beyond the shimmering snow covered meadow, beneath the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and nestled up to the bank of the graceful Taylor River, an old west treasure has found a new home. Parcel 13, at Wilder on the Taylor is the new resting place for a timeless log cabin rich with history. Not only will the owners have a family legacy to fill with memories while enjoying lifestyle at Wilder, they will also have quite a story to share with future generations of the remarkable transformation of their historic riverfront home.

Originally built in the 1940’s by Sherman Cranor, this true western Colorado cabin has had quite a life. Lavish for its time, the cabin remained where it was originally built on Crystal Creek, until 2009. This rich piece of hand hewn history was headed for demolition when Scott Hargrove, President of Hargrove Construction had the idea to dismantle and store it until the perfect opportunity arose to give it life once again.

When the owners of parcel 13 met with him about the riverfront home they envisioned building on their gorgeous piece of Wilder on the Taylor, he knew this was the opportunity he had been waiting for to revive the old cabin. Jen Hartman of Sunlit Architecture along with builder Scott Hargrove have merged beauty and nostalgia into an exquisite 3 bedroom log home.

It was a wonderful process of trying to understand the existing structure, bringing the log structure up to current code standards and then building the existing and additional spaces to compliment the original cabin. –Jen Hartman.

river view of gandy cabin

gandy cabin skeleton sketch

The project has not been without its share of challenges. When the cabin was dismantled each log was tagged and labeled to make for easy reconstruction. During the five years of storage the plastic tags did not quite weather as well as the beautiful pieces of aged lumber. Hargrove said “it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle.” Luckily, they had taken many photographs of the structure before it was dismantled and were able to make a skeleton drawing of the structure which has served as a blueprint to the resurrection.

gandy cabin reconstruction

Well worth the extra effort, this one of a kind home will feature three bedrooms, an outdoor chef’s kitchen, 3 car garage, stone fireplaces, and expansive porches on which they will fully enjoy the outdoor lifestyle here at Wilder on the Taylor. Adorned with history and modern amenities, this reclaimed home is sure to make the perfect place to create lasting family memories and continue the legacy of the cabin.

“We look forward to the completion of this home and their family becoming a part of our ranch community here at Wilder on the Taylor. This home continues to belaced into the history of the Taylor Canyon by its’ new life amid the stunning landscape at Wilder on the Taylor.  Our vision is to preserve and protect the land and heritage of this wonderful treasure that we have been entrusted,” commented Ron Welborn, Vice President and Partner.

If you’d like to learn more about Wilder on the Taylor, start by visiting our website and checking out our video library.

New Home Comes into Focus this Winter

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New Home Construction Progresses through Winter at Wilder on the Taylor in Almont, CO.

Under a blanket of beautiful white snow, progress continues at Wilder on the Taylor, as owners build their homes, add improvements, and enjoy the lifestyle of Colorado riverfront ownership. The parcel of land formerly known as lot 4 has had an astonishing transformation in the last few years. Beginning as the perfect spot on the Taylor River with the sounds of rushing water and views that heal the soul, the new owners continue adding the perfect touch of cultivated elegance allowing their land and home to become a treasured family legacy enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.

The owners have been visiting the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley for three decades and first purchased property on the Taylor River in 1989. After many years of admiring the ranchland that is now Wilder on the Taylor, they sold their home, purchased a parcel here and began plans to build. The couple says, “You feel like you are part of life here. In places like Aspen, you have a second house, not a second home. The Gunnison-Crested Butte area and the West in general are good about offering a sense of belonging.”


In 2012, the owners of this parcel completed their first project, a quaint guest cabin which overlooks one of the ranches six trout filled ponds. Nestled on the bank of the Taylor River and surrounded by stunning Rocky Mountain views, the family’s main home is coming into focus as skilled craftsman work through the Winter.

Gracious and elegant with all of the finest amenities, the main home is meant to be lived in and enjoyed. Beautifully designed by CCY Architects in Basalt, Colorado and built by Spring Creek Timber Construction, the structure is a contemporary twist on a classic log cabin with Coreten steel accents and standing dead Engelmann Spruce milled to 12” X 12” timbers. The Owner’s vision is to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside, using expansive oversized windows to capture the amazing views of the rambling Taylor River.

Like the guest cabin, one of the most unique features of the main home is a sod roof with wildflowers, requiring a drainage system covered by six or seven inches of soil and sprinklers. “Europeans are masters at green roofs, and it has gradually worked its way to the U.S.,” says Steve Cappellucci, owner of Spring Creek Timber Construction, noting it will be one of only a handful of sod roofs in Gunnison County.
shaw rendering 1 pic

The vision of these owners for this particular parcel has unfolded beautifully. They have seemingly maximized every opportunity with architecture, design, stunning views, natural sounds from the river to resident wildlife, and modern amenities to make it home. –Ron Welborn, Vice President & Partner.

Truly amazing how this dream home has so naturally been woven into the picturesque landscape that is Wilder on the Taylor. Even amid the Colorado Winter, home construction continues for owners at the ranch. This new home is expected to be completed this summer. We look forward to its completion and their family enjoying all of the amenities that Wilder has to offer. From horseback riding and hiking to fishing the Taylor River, our homeowners freely experience life and appreciate the wondrous beauty which surrounds them.

Experience Wilder on the Taylor through video.  View our video library here.