Riding was a wash today…sorry, bad pun. But we did get totally rained out. We were grooming the horses at the barn, trying to decide whether or not to bracve the elements. The San Tans looked clear – for the moment. But there was a large cloud mass hovering over the Superstitions, slowly circling back around to us. And there was another cloud mass building up to the west, coming over from California. (Hmmm, gotta wonder if this was some kind of weather jinx from my court reporting mentor in San Diego to make me stay inside and practice, versus go out and ride my horse. :))
We were still willing to brave it…until the clouds overhead started hailing. Yeah, we don’t do hail. Been there, done that…never again if I can help it. I’m a fair weather rider, I don’t know how to function in temperatures less than 60*. So the ponies got a very thorough spa-day grooming, a pan of soaked beet pulp with salt to encourage extra drinking on a cold day (plus, my new secret ingredient: cinnamon!!!), and the day off work. They breathed sighs of relief when we left. :)
However, not content to go home and get underfoot of my mother, Dad and I headed out to drive around the Superstitions. My teasing suggestions to stop at the Renassaince Festival were ignored (Dad has the same feelings towards this as I do towards hail…once was enough!), and we continued on out to Queen Valley, which is this tiny little community tucked back in the mountains. We drove around there and looked at properties, then started heading back home.
The Peralta Trailhead turnoff was on the way home. I haven’t been out to Peralta in about five or six years, and I’ve never actually hiked there, only been to the parking area. It’s a wonderful hiking trail, but really too rough for horses, from what Dad has said. Well, there was no horse trailer in tow, the rain has temprarily quit, the skies were clear…I turned off.
What I hasn’t remembered was the trailhead is back 7 miles on a washboard dirt road. Add to that the fact that it had rained very hard, and I had a rather interesting driving experience, especially coupled with the fact that the truck’s back tires are rather in need of replacing. I turned on 4-Wheel Drive, and the back end was still fishtailing in the really slick mud. I kept looking for a spot to turn around, but all of the little turnout areas were soft, sink-to-your-axles mud. After getting halfway, I was determined to make it to the trailhead.
We finally made it (only took 25 minutes or so…) to one of the lower trailheads, the Lost Goldmine trailhead. Peralta is another 1/2 mile up the road, but this was good enough. Better, according to Dad, once we started down the trail. Lovely single track with very little rock (for the Superstitions), some gentle up and down, nice decomposed granite base. Perfect for hiking. Not too sure about riding…it would probably be okay, but dragging the trailer back that far would be a pain for a training ride.
We hiked about two miles out, then it started to sprinkle, and a rather ominous-looking storm front was moving directly at us. We opted to turn around at that point, since we knew the trail back to the truck was pretty much safe to get caught in the rain on. Sure enough, we did get caught about 1/4 mile away from the truck and got a little damp, but we both had fleecy sweatshirts that kept the rain off for that short time.
So a total of 4 miles, done in an hour. My calves are feeling it right now, they’re just a bit tight. But it was absolutely gorgeous out there. Figures, the one day I leave my camera at home…the Superstitions were completely enshrouded in fog by the time we left. Magical, and just a bit eerie. At least if the ponies couldn’t get out, we were able to, so we have more fitness to be able to get off and walk or run/shuffle next to them periodically throughout the ride.