January Trail Rides
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 crossing.

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.

On Saturday, 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.

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