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RED ROCK RIDE LC
P.O. Box 128
Tropic, UT 84776

Phone:435-679-8665
Fax:    435-679-8709
Email:
keela@redrockride.com
robert@redrockride.com
Utah's Red Rock Country
By: Rachel Tueller
 

Wide Open Spaces
The campfire flickers under a clear cloudless sky, filled with brilliant stars, countless on end. Stories from the long days' ride tell of the true grit and glory of the winding dusty trail. The smell of sage, faintly mingled with hints of horses and hay, is but a whisper on the wind. Memories flash to images of the day, of a rough and rugged country whose beauty is truly unspeakable. The expanse of terrain lay before them mid-day, beckoning horse and rider to explore lands unknown and to venture just beyond the trail. It's the stuff the legends & folklore of the Old West were made. Just like an old-time Western movie, with everything short of a few outlaws and, of course, a lone rider racing towards a blazing sunset.

Yet it's present day. The tales now told through firelight and smoke are flowing from you and your pards, all seated round the campfire amidst pinion and juniper trees. Laughter comes quick and east for everyone in this place.

Country Fit for Horse & Rider
The setting is Southern Utah, the trails found only on the Red Rock Ride. Not your typical trail ride, as the breathtaking landscape so vastly different from one day to the next, offers riders the variety they seek from the outdoors. Folks on this ride hardly tire of the saddle or the outfit. Most bed down for the night anticipating morning and the new adventures brought with each day.

By day, riders traverse through some of the most rugged and pristine country of the West. An afternoon ride through Zion National Park, beneath majestic sandstone cliff ledges that rise some 3,000 feet overhead, starts off the week's ride. Seasoned wranglers are met trailside, and as introductions are made, folks begin to warm to the country that, for one short week, they'll be proud to call home. Songs and serenades from the local sheriff the first night of the trip puts visitors at ease, helping them step right into the pace of things.

Bryce Canyon is next, with its warm hues and formation made of mudstone, siltstone and sandstone. The vantage point from the trail at 7,900 feet, affords panoramic views of a hundred thousand spires, fins and pinnacles called Hoodoos. Formations that to some, look like huge "sun drenched stalagmites". The following day is spent riding a canyon on the backside of Bryce. Straight Canyon, relatively undeveloped, sees minimal visitation in comparison to the rest of the park.

On tap for day 4 is the Paria Box. Wranglers lead the way for some 30 miles as the trail meanders through this river drainage. Riders may catch sights of historic signs that were, left by people who long ago traveled through this river corridor. The relics tell a broken tale of ancient natives, the Anasazi, Fremont and Paiute Indians, and hint of early pioneers and modern day filmmakers. After a long day spend in the saddle riding the Paria, a welcome reprieve comes to riders by night, with a stay in Kanab, Utah. Folks become guests at one of the local hotels and share a fine meal at Houston's restaurant. A good night of sleep is sure to refresh and rejuvenate spirits for the rides' Grand Finale.

The fifth day calls for an evening rim ride along the Uncle Jim trail. The rim is none other than the north rim of the Grand Canyon. From here, views straight down overlook the mighty Colorado River below. The final days' ride leads to Roaring Springs, whose water source feeds the developments of both the north and south rim. The sound from the springs rolls like thunder, creating a kind of music of its own. A kind of orchestrated movement that blends all of the elements into a harmonic crescendo.

Show on the Road
There's much to be said about the families and folks who own, operate and run this well organized production. Suffice it to say this is one trail ride you won't be feeling the pains of "roughing it".

The Houston family's been catering home cooked meals for nearly 30 years, and at any location, in any kind of weather. Their mobile services are known of far and wide and are highly praised for their savory fare. From catering behind the scenes on many a Western film set, to serving up hundreds-even-thousands of tired and hungry firefighting folks a day, the Houston's are a sure fire bet to "baking" folks happy.

Mornings begin with an early start, rising to a cup of hot coffee or tea. Breakfast is served up hot and hearty with succulent sausage, ham or bacon with eggs; French toast or cakes piled high, fruit and hot cereal. Lunch is served on the trail with all the fix'ens you'll need for a day in the saddle.

Nights are given to relaxing and unwinding in first rate camping accommodations. From hot showers, flush toilets and sinks, and mess hall style tents that serve as the community center where mouth-watering meals are served up hot and hearty. The day's topped off with campfires and true western style entertainment including cowboy folklore, poems and music. When you've had enough excitement for the day, a cot and a thick, cozy mattress await you. As you bed-down for the night, the reels of the Western movies, you now live, begin to play in your head.

Plenty more can be said also, of the Mangum families' and their animal husbandry skills. Trusty mounts like Sir Henry, Buck, Kaibab, Bartender, Fender and Tex-Arkana are just a few of the nearly 200 head Mangum's lot raises, cares for and trains. The trail worthy, sturdy steeds range in bloodlines from Quarter horse to Tennessee (Walking) Mules. Mangum and his crew of adept wranglers take on the full responsibility, of tending to all the needs of every one of the horses. They feed, groom, saddle and haul the mounts to each camp in gooseneck and big rigs. It's an impressive operation. The gang wastes no time in getting everything and everyone ready and on the trail.

A True Home on the Range
Gail Dvorak of Carlsbad California is tried and true to the Red Rock Ride; she's a return rider of six go-rounds with the Houston-Mangum family. As with most of the folks that choose to saddle up with Red Rock, Gail's an experienced rider who makes a point to be out on her Appaloosas-at least three times a week back home in California. Yet it's to Utah, that she finds herself returning. On a ride that seemed for her, to fill a piece or two that she may have been missing from her riding element at home. Gail spoke fondly of the close bonds of friendship she'd formed with the group over the years, "the whole outfit is so incredibly friendly, you feel like part of the family". Though she talked of the beauties of home, she noted, "the scenery-you don't find this anywhere in California, or in the world!"

Y'all Come Back Now…
Sandy Bishop of Maine, came on the Red Rock Ride with friends, not knowing just what to expect beyond sheer adventure and sights unseen in a new place. She'd had a tough time of it at one point, concerned about the trail, the horse and her own abilities. When she turned around, she suddenly realized that the guides were right there for her, ahead and behind her, immediately reassuring her. "They were totally committed to me having a good trip, and I was one individual. And they treated everyone that way!" Sandy quickly and easily found the words to summarize her trip, "It was a pleasure to realize the good life still exists somewhere…and it's right here!"

When all is said and done, there's always too much in the way of work and appointments and daily responsibilities, to think much on the trip we've wanted to take. We all mean to, "one day". To take that trip, that to us, reaches the very center of our own heart and soul. If the Old West is where you know your heart lives, you may want to give yourself the chance, once and for all, to capture the flavor and feel of it all. Then, you just might find, sitting round the campfire one night, that it's you, spinning those tales from the long days' ride. In the end, it may just be your own silhouette that your pards catch a glimpse of, riding off into a blazing sunset.

For more information or for a free viewing of the Red Rock Ride's video, Log on to www.redrockride.com or call 435-679-8665.