From Jim Mater, Owner U-Trail . . .
We have had the wonderful opportunity of sharing the Gila Wilderness with riders from around the world. Little did I know, before I started this business, what life time friends I would make in sharing this unique wilderness. For me, as well as my staff, it has been a journey of a lifetime. Here's what a few of our riding friends have said about their time in the Gila & Blue Wilderness. . .
First U-Trail Adventure
] what Lynn Stone wrote . . .
The Middle Fork
] what Kathy Marie of Johnson, Texas says . . .
The Blue Wilderness
] what Jan Stalcup of Benton, Kansas says . . .
Utah Escalante Wilderness
] Sue's Utah Journal (PDF) . . .
Thank you for an incredible week! Thank you for sharing the serenely majestic beauty of the Blue, the dependable skills of your equine family and the good natured spirit of your wonderful friends. Our amazing adventure had so many magical moments that have now become treasured memories! We miss you!
Stacey Newstrum, Minneapolis, MN.
I did want to thank you for a most enjoyable trip last week. I was very impressed with the very relaxed but methodical and professional way you handled everything. I definitely want to ride with you again.
Karen Clark, Tucson, AZ.
The idea behind the creation of U-Trail was to share the extraordinary beauty of the Gila Wilderness with others. My first phone conversation with Jim Mater, ten years ago, revealed his excitement in showing our group his part of the world.
When not guiding, Jim explores the wilderness to open new trails, to keep old trails clear and safe for his riders and animals, to locate possible campsites . . . and just for pure enjoyment. His years of guiding experience and his great pleasure in sharing the wilderness have made day rides and pack trips into the Gila with Jim truly memorable
On our rides we stopped for photographs, to visit a swimming hole, to rest our horses or to simply enjoy a beautiful setting. Back at camp we had meals around the campfire, reviewed our day, told and listened to stories and decided upon the next day's schedule. With the moon, stars and even satellites visible above us, we headed to our tents. Morning broke with sounds of feedbags being brought out, nickers from the horses, Jim conversing and laughing with each animal and the campfire crackling. The aroma of coffee hit our noses and we crawled out of our sleeping bags - anticipating another great day.
The canyons and mesas, the brilliantly colored rock formations and hoodoos, rivers and streams to cross, wildflowers and wildlife have called us back for many other trips with Jim into the Gila and the Blue Wilderness areas.
As a group, we have enjoyed pack trips with other outfitters but are always drawn back to U-Trail.
Jean McCormick, Scaly, NC.
A lot of times you read on travel Websites how beautiful everything is going to be and that the people who will take care of you love their work and treat their animals - horses or dogs - right. Okay: This is marketing - Reality mostly looks different to what you read. I was lucky! Everything Jim promised on his Website, as well as before our start, did always exceed my expectations.
Iva Kubrycha, Germany
Thanks for the wonderful experience on the trail ride. We had an exciting and fun time. Rose and I want to come next summer and go again, so if you can pencil us in that would be great. I enjoyed seeing the beautiful country out there and especially the home cooked meals. I was spoiled by having someone cook for me.
Mary Williams, Louisville, KY.
We have ridden 9 times with U-Trail with my children having grown up with U-Trail's horses and mules. Every trip into the Gila has been a great wilderness experience for me and my family. The riding animals, food and service has always been outstanding and enjoyable.
Dr. Fred Fox MD, Silver City, NM.
I have known Jim Mater of U-Trail Outfitters for over nine years. I did my first pack trip with him in early 1998. Since then I have spent a lot of time on the trail with Jim, and I have come to discover that Jim loves to explore and discover new places. My first pack trip with him we searched for an airplane crash site from 1941. It was quite exciting to actually locate the plane. Other trips I have taken we have explored the beautiful Blue Wilderness, searched for lost Spanish treasure, rode the breath-taking Middle Fork of the Gila River, soaked in the hot springs, and even ridden the General Crook Trail in Arizona. Jim's experienced staff is always helpful, and the riding and pack animals are the best!! If you are looking for a true wilderness experience with a guide and wranglers that are the best, I would recommend U-Trail.
Lewanne Sharp, Los Gatos, CA.
Thank you for an incredible week of adventure, awesome views and endless laughter. I certainly look forward to future trips.
Susan Phillips, Atlanta, GA
Just thought I would drop you a line to say thanks for a wonderful wilderness trip. I really enjoyed learning about packing. I was really impressed by the knowledge and expertise and the work involved in such a trip.
Dave Kitchen, Holt, MO.
I had such a great time with you and the others and want to once again say "Thank You" for all you did. Since I got back I've dreamt about horses almost every night (awesome!)
Sally Watson, St. Petersburg, FL.
We want to thank everyone for a most wonderful trip. The experience was educational and marvelous. Our pictures turned out great, though I could not get the full height of those beautiful tall rock formations.
Ken & Eva Clark, Tucson, AZ.
I was amazed at the beauty of the Gila Wilderness and we all appreciated U-Trail's professionalism.
Jan Fleming Jones, Muncie, IN.
One never knows what they’re getting into with a trip like this. We plan, scout, and hope for the best. To take a horse trip into unknown country with unknown guides (aside from phone conversations and email) is a bit of a risk. I’m happy to say that our trip fell into the extremely pleasurable category. The progressive style of moving camps from one location to another one of the best parts. We saw so much country- and how diverse! I’m so glad we moved as much as we did. One night as we sat at the campfire, I realized that this is the stuff of dreams (and movies). A roaring fire, belly full of phenomenal food (thank you Lance), warm whiskey, horses running free around camp, no one to bother us and crickets chirping in the background, all in the middle of the Gila Wilderness...it was awesome. When it comes to the horses, I can’t believe some of the terrain they are able to traverse. From 68 river crossings in one day, (and yes I counted) to some of the insanely steep trails…what phenomenal, responsive, surefooted animals you have. Give your champion horse Charlie an extra bag of grain for me please. I’d recommend this trip to anyone who has the time and money to go. We had an unforgettable experience. I wish my office looked like yours did Jim! Thanks again and hope to ride again soon,
Sam Wilson, Carmel, IN.