Guy Atchley's Arizona
A trip to the White Mountains
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Any trip to the White Mountains begins with enjoying the journey.
The higher you go, the lower the temperature. Horses wear their winter coats and so do the people.
Including a woman who told me every night is a five-dog night.
The snowy cold seems to prolong the holidays; lights stay up well into January as toy soldiers protect Molly Butler's Lodge.
The beauty of this frozen landscape is undeniable, a place to follow your own path, carve a love note on a tree or toss rocks across a frozen lake.
A place to see times past in an old barn, a sleigh or tractor.
A chance to experience something different like being stared down by mule deer, finding a pay phone in a field or having an Elk burger.
Hooper's Herefords are thankful he broke the ice. There's plenty of it in these parts.
Even the Little Colorado is covered.
The road to Big Lake is closed to automobiles, but not for snowmobiles.
Some places are well-worn by traffic, while others remain untouched.
But snow is why the people come, where sled hill awaits. Or even a higher calling. A mountain called Sunrise.
Where colorful characters abound, in all manner of headgear, including a mohawk.
The ski lift awaits, another chance for great views.
But beware of the dismount. Some have the knack and others not so much.
At the top, you're 11,000 feet up. A time to take it all in, a true bird's eye view. With a picture to remember, that on a clear day you saw all the way to Flagstaff.
Then what you came for -- a chance to become airborne, to kick up some powder or perhaps get lost in it.
But of course, there are those of us who prefer a slower pace something like a sleigh ride, letting the horses lead the way through a true winter wonderland.
But then, the shadows grow long, golden hour covers the landscape and you realize this is sunset at sunrise.
Even so, for some skiers the day is still not over, as they carry torches to paint with light.
Well into a White Mountains night.