After two months, our great Arizona equine camping and trail riding trip has come to an end.
A hard rain changed the temperature there, with February temperatures in the 60s — much cooler than January when the temperature was in the 80s and 90s — but the rain was fine and badly needed because of the drought and dust.
The riding opportunities were plentiful, with several groups of friends and riding groups such as the Wednesday Winter Riders and East Valley Back Country horsemen. It seemed as if with every ride, we met people from all over the U.S. and Canada. The standard questions were, “Where are you from?,” “How cold is it there?” and “How much snow do you have?”
The few permanent residents we meet called all of us “snowbirds.” They said only a fourth of the people in the area stay year-round and then tell us about 100-plus degree weather in the summer. It is wonderful being able to ride every day in the winter, but I believe that would be too hot. They said they ride early in the morning and rarely in the daytime.
Rodney and I also really enjoy the social life in Arizona, as we have some activity most every day. Some days we had two or three invites for breakfast, lunch or cookouts and potlucks in the evening. It seemed as if everyone is on vacation, so we had more time for riding and socializing.
With the Superstition Mountains and Tonto National Forest having more than 3.5 million acres, and the Arizona Trail, which goes from the north of Arizona to the north boundary of Mexico, trails are endless. 2018 marked our ninth trip to Arizona, and we have only ridden a small portion of the trails that are available.
There are also endless possibilities of activities related to horses, such as the Hershberger Sale in Litchfield, or visiting many equine facilities to see how the rich and the famous raise horses. This year we visited the Silver Spur Ranch, which has a breeding facility with over 40 stallions. This ranch has huge arenas, a swimming pool for horses, many round pens, and a huge barn with fancy offices.
Another event that we have enjoyed every year is the Renaissance with jousting, many entertaining shows with many options available for fun. These are some of the reasons we come to Arizona every winter and will probably continue to do so until we are unable.