Sunday, March 25, 2012

Catching Up

A week or so ago we were riding down in Southeast Arizona, entirely different than other parts of Arizona we have ridden in, and that trip was made possible because of the hospitality of Tom and Joyce from down around J6.


They let the Rogers and us pull our rigs into their beautiful yard and highline our horses right there on their lawn. Sure hope they needed all that fertilizer we left. Now on the AZBCR site Tom uses the handle “Trainman” and a trainman he is, if you are wondering what the railroad looks like between Tucson and Benson a stroll around Tom’s basement will give you a pretty good idea. Amazing amount of detail and all done by hand.

Not sure what Tom is telling us in this photo but it must have been important.


Thanks for your great hospitality

Friday we headed over to the Mescal Movie set to take a few pictures. It is a movie set where High Chapparal and Lonesome Dove amongst other westerns were filmed and it is just across the range from where our host Bill lives.


He had us over there pretty quickly and we had a look around. Now doesn’t this stagecoach look like the same one in the following shot. It didn’t fare to well when our friend “K” and Amigo decided to run it to ground.


Now we headed into town and as you might notice I was trailing a spare horse just in case I came across a saloon girl that might be looking for a ride out of town.


Well like most old western towns the saloon was the gathering spot and this one was no different.


Luckily we got all this pictures before security showed up cause I guess although they welcome riders through the town they would just as soon you didn’t walk the boardwalks. I think probably a liability issue.

A great time looking around Mescal and then we were off to Kentucky Camp for a ride on Saturday. Below Blue is sampling a nice straw hat.


Saturday morning when we woke up there was a little breeze blowing through camp, just enough to keep the mosquito’s down as they say on the northern ranges. Well that little breeze was a little bothersome for some of our southern friends I guess their horses don’t know to keep their tails clamped tightly down when it is breezy. Bill lead us a circuitous route to both the Snider Mine and Kentucky Camp and tried to keep us mostly in the valleys and washes where the breeze was less obvious.

You’ll notice this good northern horse has its tail clamped down that is just so that strong Arizona breeze didn’t blow the bit out of her mouth.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chiricahua National Monument (YEEHAW!)

WOW, that is one word that can describe this ride. It is all that Mr. K promised it to be. We started off down at the bottom of the hill at the Equestrian Parking area and took the Bonita Creek Trail past Faraway Ranch and then up the Silver Spur trail to the Visitor Center. From there we headed up Rhyolite Canyon before starting up a stairway of rocks up to and through Echo Canyon. Once we reached the top of that part of the trail we headed across the Ed Riggs Trail towards the Mushroom and Big Balanced Rock trails before starting our descent down the Sarah Deming trail and back down to the trailers.

Chiricahua Map

Sounds easy eh! (the “eh” is just for our American readers). Well it is not! It is by far the most challenging technical trail that Brenda and I have ever ridden. It has about a 1900 foot elevation change in just over 6 miles so it was a pretty good climb. Most of that climb was on the Upper Rhyolite and Echo Canyon trails and most of it was solid rock. The trail was cut out of solid rock in many places and there were a hundreds if not thousands of stairs cut out to help us along. Our friend K calls it the escalator and other than the fact that you just don’t stand there and rise up the cliff it was sure like that. More like a Stairway to Heaven as each step and twist in the trail gave us new vista’s to enjoy. Best have a pretty steady horse under you on this one as there are a lot of ledges, or rather there are very few places that are not ledges, and it is not a place to make a misstep. That misstep could put you into Pegasus’s realm and unless you or your horse can fly nothing good would happen here. I took a lot of pictures while on this ride but hardly a one does the this ride justice.

I will include a link here to my Picasa album on the Chiricahau’s. We will certainly return to this ride in the future and maybe then I can get some better shots. There are a few at the end of the album from the Rex Allen museum in Wilcox, Az as well.

We owe thanks for this ride to K and Teresa Rogers as well as Tom Compton, Bill Roberts, and their neighbour Rex. And also to those thousands of Civilian Conservation Corp members who spent many thousands of man days carving these trails out of this spectacular place as they have in many other parks throughout America.

Riding around Catalina State Park

Last Friday the 9th we headed off to Tucson country for a weekend of riding in and around Catalina State Park. As we drove down I-10 we had a chance to reflect on how lucky we are to see all this beautiful country.


And there we are reflecting along the way.

We were meeting a bunch of folks from the Arizona Back Country Riders as this is our fundraising month and each weekend there is a ride in a different place to help fund the website. The first ride this weekend was a trip up through the boulders to Cherry Springs. Once again different terrain than most of the places we have ridden this winter but we are getting used to the many facets of Arizona trails. There is such a huge variety of terrain in this state and each one has its own special beauty. We found this fellow out for a hike along the trail also.


As the season moves closer to summer we are seeing more and more critters out and about but as yet no snakes have crossed our trails. Just a mention as well as a great ride we were celebrating Brenda’s birthday Saturday night and as usual we had a great potluck and thanks to Paula from Payson a good fire to celebrate around.

Here is a link to the photos from the Cherry Springs Ride.

Day 2 we headed down the wash through the Catalina Regional Park headed towards the State Park. We wound our way down the wash in and out of both parks and past some private land along the way, and then headed up the hill and onto the aptly named Fifty Year trail to head back towards our camp I took a few photo’s along the way and you can follow this link to have a look at them Catalina Day 2.

Now these are usually just weekend affairs but this week we are off with our friends the Rogers to meet some other folks with free time to ride some more beautiful spots. After everyone else (those who had to work, sorry Linda) hit the road home we decided to spend one more night in our roadside boondocking spot before moving into the State Park to avail ourselves of the showers and dumps before we moved on down the road a little farther. Not to shabby a view from our site there either.


Here are some photo’s of our campsite there in their Equestrian area.

Catalina State Park Equestrian Area.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Shoes

Pretty exciting day around Dogpound South yesterday. There were new shoes to be had but not for Brenda, she already has a closet full of flip-flops, and as for me, well, I have a couple of pairs of boots around here that have a little dust on them but otherwise are still doing a great job.

But our ponies have been wearing theirs out on these Arizona rocks and seeing as how we are heading into March and off on a ten day riding trip soon I thought we should get some new footwear for them.


The shot above is a look into the forge, every shoe is a custom fit job, nothing is too good for our horses. Our Farrier/Smithy needs to do a little heating and a little hitting to get everything just right.


And then there is the final fitting just to make sure it passes the “smoke” test before you


get them all nailed on.


This morning Bill and Margaret K from Dease Lake pulled out of Dogpound South headed over to Yuma and then onto points north, but we are not going to be lonely long as we are expecting Laurie and Odel from Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road to pull through the gate at any moment. It has been a little more than a year since we have seen these good folks so it will be great to sit back and catch up on what has been happening in each others lives since that last visit.

Well I better get this sent off to the blog Gods and get back to packing the trailer as we are off on another adventure tomorrow.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Riding for the Website

Last weekend we headed off on a ride that we had done a few weeks ago. Nope we haven’t run out of new horizons but this time we were on an organized ride that was raising funds to support the website that has led us to many of the great places we have been this year. The Arizona Back Country Riders or AZBCR group posts a lot of information for trailriding and sport horse events here in Arizona so we have benefited from their site and over the next month or so will attend 3 or 4 rides supporting their site. This ride has been called many things but I like the name our friend “K” gave it when he called it the Goldmine Trail so that is what I am calling it.


Here are our horses just hanging around on their highline resting up for the ride on Saturday morning.

And our friends “K” and “Teresa’s”, along with “K”.


When everybody was ready in the morning we had 23 riders showing up to support the site.


Most of the trail was up the Hassampya River and then up some of the tributary washes. Along the way we found a couple of watering holes/swimming holes depending on your point of view.


Now we aren’t the only folks and critters using these desert oasis or cienega’s as they are called in the Southwest are used by the wildlife and cattle as well as insects. You can see the screen ramp to allow any critters who fall in to extricate themselves from the containers. Sharp eyed long time readers will realize that this is the same ride that Blue and I had a interaction with a cholla cactus on a few weeks ago. I am glad to report that any folks who came along just to see the rough stock portion of the ride re-enacted were disappointed.


Here is Brenda on the last leg into camp, probably already planning that great Cowboy Casserole that she had whipped up for the potluck later in the evening. We really enjoy the camaraderie that this group fosters and especially the opportunity to hear some new stories and maybe spin a yarn or two about the Northern Ranges. Maybe, just maybe we may convince some of these folks that you don’t have to hide out from the sun all summer as long as you get a little higher in latitude and we have some great spots along the Eastern Slopes of the Canadian Rockies that we would love to share with our Arizona friends.


Special thanks to "K” and “Teresa” and “Dave” and “Linda” who have put up with us all winter and shown us such great riding spots. Below is a link to all the photo’s I took along this ride.

Goldmine Trail.