Blue Sky Stables
We watch in amazement as our Apache guide, Kicker, grips the mane of his horse and throws himself onto its saddle-less back before leading us down the trail and into the forest. I felt like I was in a Western movie; expecting to see John Wayne around the next corner. Instead, what we see is some of the most spectacular scenery the White Mountains has to offer.
With Sunrise Mountain in the background, riders pose for a photo. This photo was taken by Kicker
Incredible panoramic views show the surrounding Round Valley Landscape.
We follow the trail through aspen, spruce and Douglas fir. Sometimes we travel cross-country over logs and small creeks. As we reach higher altitude, there are beautiful panoramic views that show off the surrounding Round Valley landscape. Topping a hill, we scare two elk bulls from their daybeds. A coyote cautiously watches our approach as we cross the meadow, then quickly turns to flee. A small hickory squirrel throws objects in our path as we pass his tree. From horseback, Kicker spots a well-camouflaged horned toad and points it out to us.
As we near the end of our ride, Kicker stops and tells us an old Apache story of how the animals got their names. It is about a time when the stars still covered the ground; a time when the earth was new. It's a story that tests our anatomy skills. It's about deer, bear and a special ball of fur that had to earn its name. As we leave the stables, four deer timidly cross the road in front of us and it is a perfect ending to this great White Mountain journey.
To find Blue Sky Stables from Pinetop, travel east past Hon-Dah Resort Casino toward McNary on Route 260 until you reach Route 273 (Sunrise Park). Turn right and follow this road until you see Sunrise General Store on your left. The entrance to the park will be on your right and Blue Sky Stables is located on the right side of the entrance into the park.
For more information about Blue Sky Stables call (928) 735-7454.