Horseback riders enjoy the Foothills of the Rincon Mountains

Left to right: Kelly McGarrity, Janelle Authur, Bob Johnson, Debbie Shelton, Paul Bailey, Dave Normandie and Doug Rinke

Left to right: Kelly McGarrity, Janelle Authur, Bob Johnson, Debbie Shelton, Paul Bailey, Dave Normandie and Doug Rinke

Rebecca Williams watches as the group heads down the trail.

Rebecca Williams watches as the group heads down the trail.

Left to right up the trail: Janelle Authur, Bob Authur, Bob Johnson, Paul Bailey, Guy Shelton, Debbie Shelton, Shelly Franke, Dave Normandie and Doug Rinke

Left to right up the trail: Janelle Authur, Bob Authur, Bob Johnson, Paul Bailey, Guy Shelton, Debbie Shelton, Shelly Franke, Dave Normandie and Doug Rinke

Rebecca Williams, at left, enjoying the petting zoo at Colossal Cave with Loretta Johnson and Lee Rinke

Rebecca Williams, at left, enjoying the petting zoo at Colossal Cave with Loretta Johnson and Lee Rinke

Rebecca Williams

Sixteen riders headed up the trail at Colossal Cave Mountain Park located southeast of Tucson in Vail. This picturesque venue reopened under new management and was a welcome addition to the group’s venues. The scenic trail wandered gently through the saguaros, cottonwoods and barrel cacti. Wildflowers were in evidence from the recent rain.

This area is adjacent to the eastern Saguaro National Forest, and there were many fine old specimens to see including a rare crested saguaro. The trail gave some really fine views of the Rincon Mountains, which contain foothills of varying colors from a pinkish magenta to a burnt orange. Due to the colors the guide said this area is also known as the Rainbow Hills. She also pointed out the contour lines in the terrain as evidence of the uplift of what millions of years ago had been an ancient seabed. She mentioned finding fossils of seashells in some of the rocks in the area. This was also the home of the Hohokam Indians from 900-1400 AD. The area has some natural springs, which support growth of a stand of cottonwoods. The available water was a key to the stagecoach line that ran through the area servicing the route between Tucson and Bisbee prior to the railroad.

The group included new residents Paul Bailey, Guy and Debbie Shelton as interest in seeing the area by horseback continues to grow. After the ride a few also enjoyed the small petting zoo, which had goats, sheep, llamas and burros as well as some miniature ponies. Young children can enjoy the petting zoo for a small fee.

The group’s final ride of the season was Saturday, April 30, at Pusch Ridge Stables in Oro Valley. That trail winds through parts of the Catalina State Park and allowed riders to see some nearby scenery in a more “up close and personal” way. The group does not ride in the summer due to the heat but will be back in the saddle again come September.

Any resident of SaddleBrooke Ranch is welcome to join the SaddleBrooke Ranch Riding Group. There is no obligation to attend all the rides offered. Riders simply let the secretary know if they want to attend a particular ride. Car pools are generally arranged for those interested.

If you are interested in receiving more information on the SaddleBrooke Ranch Riding Group, please contact the group secretary, residents Don and Rebecca Williams, at [email protected]