- Trail: Lonesome Willow - Antelope Springs - Succor Creek canyon loop
- Miles: 14.15
- Riders: Self - Lee - Cynthia and Becky
- Horses: Jack and J - King - Rio and Jude
Click here for full set of photos: Get'in my hermit on
Notes: Well, I thought the previous ride to the lake would have been the highlight of the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to find today's ride even better. I met Lee, Cindy and Becky at the head of Camp Hermit on Succor Creek Rd and followed them to a road above Lonesome Willow - previously known as the Bob Davis Ranch. The State purchased the old ranch and turned it into ...pretty much nothing. Sure wish they would put it up for sale and let somebody bring it back to life. What an awesome place in it's day.
I've hiked, ridden or four wheeled most of the locations on the route Lee guided us over. It was wonderful to finally connect the dots.
He showed us an old road that went into the Davis Ranch. We could follow it part way. Other parts were eroded away and we had to take an alternate, cross country path. Especially the sections of road skirting steep, bentonite hillsides. It was scary enough side-hilling a horse over it. I heard Becky ahead give out a scream and shout a few expletives. The scream did little to instill confidence. Shortly after I hear someone ask: "Becky - why did you close your eyes?" She answered: "Because I don't want to see my death coming!" At least she wasn't at the bottom of a ravine - there was hope. I rounded the hillside just as Becky and Jude lunged up the ravine to safety. The tracks of her horse sloughing off the steep bentonite hillside bore evidence of the source of her distress. We probably aren't going to die, I tell myself. Never weaken. J'Lo and Jack navigated the trail like old pros while I looked up at the sky and pretended like I didn't see what was under my horses feet.
We had to bush-whack our way across Succor Creek coming and going. I'm usually in the back. I was riding J'Lo and she has a terrible slow walk. At one point the willows leading into and out of the creek were so thick I lost the others. I let out a yell - "Hey - where are you guys?" "GO LEFT!" they yell back. Jack, who I was leading, seemed to grow tired of the indecision, stepped in front and cleared a path to the others waiting around the bend.
The route Lee led us on crossed Succor Creek - passed Lonesome Willow - up to Antelope Springs and over the top to Succor Creek State Park. A couple of dirt bikes headed up the hill toward us. The rider in front never slowed down and revved his engine, scaring the horses. I don't know Lee very well - but he appears to be a rather easy going, kind person. As he squeezed his morgan into the path of the second rider, he looked anything but mild-mannered. He politely asked the second rider to please ask his buddy to slow down the next time he encounters horses. The second biker politely responded that yes sir, he sure would do that. We very seldom run into inconsiderate off-road folks. When you do - you like to think they just don't know better.
We rode over the bridge, through the park, down Succor Creek Canyon road to "my favorite camping spot" where we forded Succor Creek for the last time and back to Lonesome Willow and to the trailers. Lee pointed out the various old trails, roads and irrigation ditches (that supplied the Davis Ranch) and other historical tidbits of interest.
We had ridden by many of my old stomping grounds. There was the The Twin Towers. I recognized the area where Spud and I ate lunch and he drank water out of a pool of rainwater captured in rock. I snapped a picture of our feet with the rim rock across the canyon in the background. There was the two rock cribs in the fence line spanning the deep gorge where Spud and I got several chuckar. And there was Chuckar Rock - the massive rock formation marking entry to the gorge Spud and I hunted up and ended up lost until almost dark. I need to write up that story some day. It was the beginning of my "always be prepared" for anything phase.
It was an unforgettable ride on many levels. Great friends, fond memories and invaluable local knowledge of an area that is more home to me than the address on my power bill.