People retire in Payson for a variety of reasons. For some, it's the climate and small-town atmosphere with a close proximity to a major metropolitan area.
John and Sallena Pool made Payson their retirement home after traveling through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah over a six-week period.
Theirs was a caravan of sorts. It included a motor home and a passenger vehicle pulling a horse trailer. Their cargo included four dogs, two horses and a cat. The Pool's mission was to travel for a year with thoughts of camping and riding their horses into various wilderness areas.
After three weeks on the road, the Pool's frustrations were getting the best of them.
"We were having a hard time finding a place to park the motor home that would also allow horses," John said. "We were also tired of trying to find feed and trails to ride on."
The Pools spent the next three weeks looking for a place to settle.
"We stopped in every state and made inquiries," John said. "Each place we stopped at, people would say we ought to look at Payson."
The Pools were familiar with Arizona, having visited Tucson, Prescott and Camp Verde.
"We knew Prescott was pretty, but when we got to Payson, we loved it." John said.
Payson became their final destination in 1999. The Pools purchased a house in Payson and property in Star Valley with one thought in mind
"All the things we could not find on our travels, we decided to offer here in Payson," John said.
The Pools set out to build Spirit River Ranch in Star Valley, a vacation get-away for the horse enthusiast.
"We hope to also facilitate interest in horses for those who want to learn and have fun with them." John said.
Spirit River Ranch is adjacent to a dry creek bed on Sprague Drive. The ranch has cabin suites, RV hook-ups and tent camping. Equestrian facilities include stables, corrals, round pens and arenas.
The Pools have also recruited assistance from expert trainers for those who want to learn more about rider safety, showing or help with a problem horse.
"Depending on the wants or needs of the horse owner, we have access to several expert trainers," John said.
To learn more about Spirit River Ranch you can call 468-0468 or visit its website at www.spiritriverranch.com.