With temperatures still hitting triple-digits, and a laughable attempt at a monsoon season, it was time to head up to the high country for some elevation, fresh air, and cooler weather.
Destination: Carr Lake Trailhead near Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim, about half an hour east of Payson. Elevation: 6700′. Temperature: Blissful. (I don’t know what the temps were exactly, but I think probably in the high-70s.)
It’s only about a 2-1/2 hour drive from the barn, and really, not too bad of a drive. Your rig needs to be able to handle hills, since there are a few climbs that will make a vehicle work, but the route is a State Route highway versus major interstate, so it is most commonly used by passenger vehicles and a handful of semis, compared to the non-stop trucker stream of I-10 and I-17.
We had a group of 6 all riding together, and this was one of the best group rides I’ve been on. Lots of switching out of who-was-where in the line-up, so Mimi got to spend a good amount of time leading, and only had to suffer being in the middle or back for small amounts of time.
She was definitely in Endurance Pony mode, and despite being the smallest one there, out-walked everyone.
The trails were lovely — a lot of smooth single-track interspersed with sections that were rockier or more technical (short clamber through a creekbed, for example). Previous trips to the Rim area have netted some really great trail-riding trails, but not great for any kind of endurance conditioning since most are too technical to allow for much by way of moving out. This area, though, showed a lot of promise for return trips of the conditioning variety, and apparently we just barely scratched the surface of available trails.
Mimi was so happy to be out on trail again. Even her snarky mare faces were fairly minimal, and she actually liked 2/5 other horses (her EZ On Up Ranch herdmates), tolerated 2 of the other horses, and only actively disliked 1 of them. Not bad in the world of Mare-ville.
It will definitely be worth a return trip up here…easy enough of a drive for a day trip, fun and pretty trails, and a great break from the hot summer weather.