Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saddle up: Arizona dude ranch offers 200 mile horseback adventure - Full Article

April 28 2017
By Trudy Balcom The Independent

Every dude ranch in the West tries to offer their guests a little taste of cowboy adventure.

An afternoon or an overnight trail ride with a campfire and a cookout under the stars fulfills most people’s hunger for a little cowboy flavor.

But there is another kind of adventurous soul out there, one who hankers for a big juicy bite of the wild; one who doesn’t mind a bit of gristle here and there.

That is the kind of soul Whitney Wiltbank likes to design trail rides for, and the kind of trails he likes to ride himself.

Wiltbank, a CPA based in Eagar, also helps run the other family business — Sprucedale Guest Ranch. The ranch is located southwest of Alpine along 11 miles of Forest Service gravel roads, near the headwaters of the Black River in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.

Whitney spurred the idea forward for the ranch’s first-ever 200-plus mile trail ride, dubbed “Whitney’s Epic Trail.” The ride started Monday near Apache Junction and follows historic trails through the Tonto Basin and up over the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains...

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