January can be cold, can be snowy, can
be rainy, and probably muddy here in the White Mountains. These
conditions do not lend themselves to enjoyable ATV/OHV trail riding.
Heading to the Tonto Basin area for offroad riding is one answer. In the
winter months Tonto Basin is normally, but not always, warmer and dryer
and has some great trails for riding.
The club enjoyed two
days of trail riding in Tonto Basin (Punkin Center) on Friday and
Saturday, January 13th & 14th. Fred Parry winters in the Tonto Basin
area and knows the trails better than most. He volunteered to lead a
ride on Friday from Punkin Center to Young and lunch at the Antlers Café
& Bar and on Saturday from Punkin Center to the hidden cave and the
DuPont Cabin. Fred is conscientious and was validly concerned about the
weather forecast for the weekend. Rain was predicted for Friday and
heavy rain for Saturday. The rain was a concern because it was necessary
to cross the Tonto Creek to access the ride staging area. Heavy rain
could cause the Tonto to rise and close the creek crossing. This would
be an annoyance if you had not crossed the creek, but it could be a real
problem if you got caught on the wrong side of the closed creek
Friday’s ride was great with no issues with crossing
the creek to access the staging area. Fred took the riders to the
hidden cave, Antlers for lunch, and DuPont Cabin all in one day. Most of
the trail was dry, just a little mud in places, but what is a little
mud between friends? The owners/host of the Antlers serve up some
wonderful food (very large portions), great service (they are happy to
see you there and are very friendly and outgoing), and reasonable
prices. The deserts are wonderful, a reasonable person would be okay
with ordering desert first and skipping the meal.
Fred decided to avoid having to cross the creek on. Saturday’s ride was
changed to the El Oso road up to the Four Peaks area and north towards
Mount Ord. The prediction for rain was right on, it rained off and on
most of the day. We rode in the rain and drove in the mud. No one
complained, everyone had a wonderful ride and really enjoyed themselves.
A big thank you goes to Fred Parry for all the work he put into putting on two days of riding.