Saguaro Trails

The harsh but beautiful landscape of Arizona's Saguaro National Park offers a land of contrasts for horseback explorers.

"Drier than dust, and here's a beautiful yellow flower coming up out of the ground," remarks Judy Rundell, one of our fellow trail riders, as we ride through Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona.

It's late April, and my wife and I are among a half-dozen riders out for a daylong trek through the forbidding, yet inviting, desert landscape. The country can't look much different than it did in Geronimo's day, and it's hard to imagine just how tough those first pioneers must've been to carve out a living from this dry, rocky ground.

For much of the day, there's no sound but the clip-clop of horses' feet and the rustle of the breeze. The only reminder of how close we are to Tucson comes when we top a ridge and see the growing city in the distance. Fortunately, the trail soon points us in a different direction, the Tucson skyline disappears, and we go back to our daydream - that it's really 1880.

For the rest of this story, see the November 2006 issue of Western Horseman.