On the opposite side of the mountain, we go through a series of washouts and boulders where ravines bring water from the melting snow above. We can see several spots along the road where solid rock has been blasted, like tunnels without a roof, to make it easier on the horses pulling the stage up the mountain many years ago.
As we pass White Well, the road starts to level out and it isn't long before the log structure of Palace Station comes into view. The warm sun is melting the snow around the old stage station, and we enjoy its warmth. A wooden sign erected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture reads: "This cabin was built in 1874 by the Spence family and is one of the oldest structures in Arizona. It served as a stage station on the Senator Trail from Prescott to Phoenix until 1910 and is now used by the U.S. Forest Service as a work center during the summer."
We fire up our modern diesel for the return climb back through snow-covered switchbacks and Ponderosa pines. The return trip is peaceful. If you have the time, Goldwater Lake is another recreation area tucked away in the Prescott National Forest, complete with fishing and hiking and riding trails that are worth exploring.
The information presented in this column is, to the best of our knowledge, correct and accurate at the time of publication. However, because of our lengthy lead time, we recommend you call the proper authorities or local experts for confirmation before visiting.
Mud or snow on your windshield give you chills? Four-wheeling your weekends away? Got a good story to tell about it? Send us all the gear-popping seatbelt-tightening dust-kicking details in 500 words or less, along with your best photos (color slides, preferably), and we'll pay $300. Send to Truck Trend, c/o "On the Road," 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. We'll publish your adventures.