Saturday, March 26, 2016

Discovering Arizona at the OK Corral!

Arizona is not just an oven-bake state.  In spite of its reputation for intense heat and dry summers there are months where the weather is beautiful, cool and breezy.  Like today.  A sunny 85˚ offset by a refreshing westerly breeze is a more than welcome respite from the coming summer months when venturing outside requires shoes and sunscreen at all times.

This beautiful weather drew us out of our air-conditioned home and out into God’s creation, where we headed off to two popular tourist destinations, Goldfield Ghost Town and the OK Corral.  If you’ve never been to either of them I urge you to get up, get out, and get going!

They are located next to each other on the Apache Trail, snugged up to the Superstition Mountains, in Apache Junction, Arizona on Highway 88.  For the sake of space today’s post will just review the OK Corral, next week I’ll be sharing about the Goldfield Ghost Town.

Bryan and Tex, me and Dallas, enjoying our view of the Superstition Mountains.

If you love horses, then the OK Corral is for you!  Open year round, you will need to call ahead to make a reservation, but we found them very accommodating.  We called from the Ghost Town and an hour later we were sitting on our very own horses!

The gentleman who welcomed us was friendly, and after some good-natured ribbing about our lack of preparation (we were both wearing shorts, and I didn’t have any sunscreen) the Hubby and I opted for our first ride to be just a half hour, any longer and I might’ve broiled in the sun! After signing a waiver we headed out to the corral where we met our trail leader, Hank, and received instructions on how to mount, and operate, our horses.  The staff…er…cowboys were all friendly and helpful, and made us feel completely comfortable despite the fact that both my Hubby and I hadn’t ridden since childhood.

We found the cost affordable.  We paid $30 per person for a half hour ride, but for just $10 more per person we could've rode for an hour.

Here are some points to remember…
  • Wear sunscreen…especially if you’ve got super fair skin like me.  Even when the weather is cool, the Arizona sun can be merciless.
  • Wear long jeans or pants…if we had expected to ride horses we would’ve been a bit smarter about our wardrobe choices.  As it was, we were in shorts, which is fine, but by the end of the ride my legs were sticking to the saddle.  Also, obviously, pants prevent scratches by bushes and whatnot when your horse walks too close to them.
  • Wear tennis shoes, NOT flip flops or sandals…luckily my feet were appropriately attired, unlike the time I climbed to the top of Diamond Head in Hawaii in flip flops. (Yeah, that happened.)
  • Wear a hat…but make sure it’s not floppy or loose.  A ball cap or a hat that ties beneath your chin is good, it has to fit snug so the wind doesn’t blow it off. 
  • Bring a bottle of water…if you’re going out longer than half an hour, make sure you bring water to drink.
  • Leave your purse or backpack’s in the car…I didn’t realize my shoulder slung purse couldn’t be worn and had to leave it at the desk.  However, it was perfectly safe, so there were no worries there.
  • Bring a camera…the trail guide encouraged us to take pictures while we rode, and he stopped us several times to take a picture of us together.  If you’re worried about dropping it, use one of those wrist thingies.

Overall, our experience was fun, and informative, as Hank pointed out plants and critters, and filled in some of the history of the area.  Our horses were gentle, and in fact we rarely had to do anything other than sit on them as they fell into line behind Hank’s horse and adjusted their speed to his.  My horse, Dallas, tried to snatch a bite to eat from a bush, but she responded to my correction quickly and got back in line.  My Hubby’s horse, Tex, did seem to have a mind of his own and required much gentle urging to keep pace with the rest of us.  I think he just wanted to enjoy the scenery as much as we did!

I would definitely recommend the OK Corral, and we are making plans to come back for a much longer ride.

For full information, including prices and location, visit their site found here:  Superstition's O.K. Corral Stables

First View of the Stables!  So excited!!

Rule for going up a hill...hold the saddle horn and lean forward.

Rule for going down a hill...lean back and hold your feet out to the side.

A beautiful view!

Dallas and I

Bryan and Tex

Our last photo op.

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