Monday, February 1, 2010
Our breakfast trail ride at Tanque Verde Ranch Resort, outside of Tucson, began on a gorgeous, warm morning in mid-October. I had slathered loads of sunscreen on my arms, shoulders, neck, and face and retrieved a baseball cap to shield against the desert sun. We met at the stables where, based on my riding experience, the horse handlers paired me with a gentle white/gray horse named Dale.
above image courtesy of photographer
at Tanque Verde Ranch Resort
Before long, our press group had entered a sea of saguaro cacti, which I thought of as a 'transparent forest.' We rode to a high hilltop, with the gentle Dale navigating rock, sand, cacti, narrow trails and steep inclines as I gently pulled him away from tasty bushes along the way. By the time we reached our breakfast site, everyone was hungry. And what a feast awaited us!
The staff had transported a huge cookstove and grill up the mountain, where regular and blueberry pancakes turned golden brown, with crispy hash browns, chile and cheese-spiked scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh, flaky biscuits on the side. Coffee woke us up and lemonade cooled us off. But, perhaps the most impressive part of this breakfast feast was how they served it - on gingham tablecloths atop picnic tables - plus sturdy plastic plates and real silverware.
The temperature hovered near 90 degrees as we cleared the tables, and looked down on miles of cacti. Then we headed back to the stables, ready for shade but happy for a great start to our day.