What a day....we were on or with our horses for nearly 12 hours. I have been adamant about the fact that I DO NOT want to use a trailer unless it is absolutely necessary and there are no other alternatives. We found a way to by-pass Prescott by riding through the mountains. We went to the Forestry Service and bought the most recent map with the trails that were supposed to be clearly marked. We knew this was going to be dangerous and carried enough food for us and the horses in case we got lost. As you can see from the above left picture, we rode right to the very top of the mountains. Once we found the trail head, we followed what was supposed to be "the" trail....number 48. We rode for hours and hours up and down some of what I can only describe as a goat trail. There were many times when we had only inches (maybe 18) and the only thing we were passing through was a sheer rock on one side and a total drop on the other side. I felt like the "Man From Snowy River" from having to lean back so drastically to maintain balance. The difference was we were smart enough to not run - lol. We rode up and down like this for hours and finally came to a point where our trail came to a dead end. We made a decision and found our way to a jeep trail and ultimately found ourselves......right where we had started. Yep....we came out about two miles from the trail head from which we had started.
You cannot imagine our anguish...not for ourselves as much as for our boys. We eventually went back on the trail to find out where we had made our mistake. Our good old trail no. 48 made a hard turn and we should have followed another trail that was NOT maintained. Riding this trail, we crossed trees while going straight down but eventually found ourselves back into civilization. We came down at a trailer/RV park that had a man-made waterfall. We led the horses over there so they could get a much needed drink. I cannot describe how odd it is to be totally at the mercy of the wilderness and come down and have your mount get a drink from a "man-made" waterfall. I can promise that we would have gone to battle if it had been necessary for them.
By this time, it was getting dark. Marla escorted us to the camp by following us with the RV. I know the traffic gets pretty impatient but what can I say...it was safe for us and our boys.
I cannot describe how tired we were. We rested on Friday and allowed Whiskey and Jericho the same rest. We will leave out Saturday on another trail to cross another mountain range. Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer that we stay on the right trail or that it is more clearly marked.
Take care and I love you all;